NORWAY DISMISSES COVID SALMON RUMOURS
Norway dismisses Covid salmon rumours – Recently confirmed cases of Covid-19 at a food market in Beijing has caused uncertainty and speculation in many parts of the value chain, reports the Norwegian Seafood Council, who in a statement said: “The Norwegian Seafood Council wishes to reassure consumers and buyers of Norwegian seafood about the food safety of seafood products in light of several unsubstantiated rumors regarding the source of infection.”
- There are no official statements connecting these incidents with neither seafood nor salmon. The origins of this outbreak are still unclear.
- The coronavirus does not affect seafood safety. There are no known cases of infection via contaminated food, imported food or water, and Norwegian Food Safety Authorities states seafood products from Norway are safe to eat.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have issued detailed guidance on food safety, stating that there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19
During a recent press conference, the deputy director of the Emergency Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shi Guoqing, stated the following: “We currently have no evidence to suggest that salmon is the host or intermediate host of the coronavirus. In the contaminated area of Xinfadi Market related to this new outbreak, there is indeed salmon product found to be contaminated in the coronavirus test. But no virus has been detected on the salmon product that has not yet entered the contaminated area.”
“No matter for salmon or other foods, it is necessary for them to be washed and handled with necessary processes before eating.”,
The Norwegian Seafood Council has been following the situation in China closely from the beginning and have maintained good communication between the industry in Norway, Norwegian authorities, and importers in the Chinese market.
In addition to closely monitoring the development of the case in Beijing, they have taken the following measures:
- Contingency management in the event of spread to other markets where correction of incorrect information is required
- Monitoring media coverage and follow up on media inquiries with facts and updated information
- Sharing up-do-date information with key stakeholders.
“In order to ensure communication, the Norwegian Seafood Council has shared their latest information to local partners and customers,” says Anders Nordøy Snellingen, Manager of the Norwegian Seafood Councils global operations.
“Our understanding is that comprehensive control of fresh foods has been introduced to any goods going into Beijing.
“Of course, the links being made in some media cases between salmon and the virus outbreak is unfortunate. We need facts on the table, and both WHO, FAO and The Norwegian Food Safety Authority are clear in their communication regarding this”, says Anders Nordøy Snellingen, Manager of the Norwegian Seafood Councils global operations.
In 2019, around 23 500 tonnes of salmon from Norway were exported to China, worth NOK 1.6 billion
So far this year, 9 600 tonnes of salmon from Norway were exported to China, which represents a decrease in volume of 5 per cent, compared with the same period last year.