Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Zespri rallies at covid detection

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No further samples of Zespri fruit have revealed covid-19 contamination since the discovery in China late last week during routine sampling revealed the virus’s presence. The discovery was in the Yaohai district of Hefei city, in the Anhui province.
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No further samples of Zespri fruit have revealed covid-19 contamination since the discovery in China late last week during routine sampling revealed the virus’s presence. The discovery was in the Yaohai district of Hefei city, in the Anhui province.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says the marketer continues to supply fruit into China as normal, with all shipments being processed in accordance with standard protocol, as per usual.

“While we do expect some short-term impact, we are encouraged by the response from Chinese consumers who continue to show trust in us to provide the highest-quality, safe Zespri kiwifruit,” Mathieson said.

China has taken a strict stance on covid-19 transmission through food products, with earlier scares impacting New Zealand, including positive test results on NZ tripe product last November.

Sealord has had two facilities banned from exporting a range of products following a Chinese audit, despite no confirmed discovery of covid in its products.

Mathieson confirmed the affected fruit had been shipped from Tauranga on August 16 after being packed in Bay of Plenty in May.

Despite the positive test, there has been no reported outbreaks of covid in Bay of Plenty and shipping occurred prior to the mid-August lockdown.

“The fruit was tested for covid-19 upon arrival in China, by China Customs and Zespri, as well as being disinfected, as per standard China Customs protocols,” he said.

NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated chief executive Colin Bond says the discovery was puzzling given the circumstances and NZ’s lack of covid.

“Growers are as puzzled as anyone, but are optimistic Zespri will be onto this. False positives have also been known to occur,” Bond said.

China has been forced to defend its phytosanitary measures around covid control and foodstuffs over the past 12 months, including at the World Trade Organisation.

The US and Canada in particular have been vocal about China’s strict controls and critical its controls were unnecessarily strict and not based on risk assessed science to justify them.

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