U.S. Fires Back at China Linking COVID Concerns and Food Imports

U.S. health and agricultural authorities issued thinly-veiled criticism of new Chinese demands placed on food-exporters as Beijing is asking those companies to sign documents stating that they comply with Chinese safety standards to prevent COVID transmission.

“Efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission,” says Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn in a joint statement. The two officials both say there is “no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from food or packaging.”

Bloomberg says that’s in line with expert advice saying that food poses little risk of spreading the coronavirus. China recently warned global exporters dealing with outbreaks among employees by placing bans on a plant owned by Tyson Foods, which reported infections at a site in Arkansas.

China’s customs authorities say companies in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Brazil have voluntarily halted shipments due to a rise in the number of positive COVID cases within their borders. Tyson was the first major U.S. company to sign the Chinese certificate, while others have been more reluctant to sign an affidavit due to liability concerns.