The World Health Organization said Thursday that people shouldn’t worry about contracting the coronavirus from food or food packaging.
“People should not fear food or food packaging or processing or delivery of food,” Ryan said in Geneva.
“There is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in transmission of this virus. And people should feel comfortable and safe,” he added.
The statement was a direct break from Chinese officials for the international health group; China has claimed that chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for the coronavirus.
Reuters reported Wednesday that Chinese authorities said a sample taken from the surface of chicken wings imported into the southern city of Shenzhen contained the virus.
Officials also tested the packaging of frozen shrimp from Ecuador in a city in the Anhui province, and the packaging tested positive for the virus, China claimed.
The positive tests on food and food packaging sent Chinese authorities scrambling to contact those who might have come into contact with the food, Reuters reported.
“It is hard to say at which stage the frozen chicken got infected,” a Chinese official said.
According to Medical Xpress, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said China had tested hundreds of thousands of packages and “found very, very few, less than 10 positive in doing that.”
“We know that the virus can remain on surfaces for some time,” she said. “If the virus is actually in food — and we have no examples of where this virus has been transmitted as a food-borne, whereas someone has consumed a food product — the viruses can be killed, like other viruses as well, if the meat is cooked.”
The WHO statement assuring the international public not to fear reporting from inside China is unusual for the public health body, which has been accused of assisting China’s efforts to cover up the initial spread of the virus last year and early this year.
In January, the WHO reported a false claim that the coronavirus cannot be spread between persons.
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the WHO tweeted on Jan. 14.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
Of course, that information proved to be incorrect, and that still haunts the WHO and harms its credibility.
President Donald Trump has been particularly critical of the organization for failing to be transparent about the coronavirus and its relationship to China.
Trump announced in May that the U.S. would cut ties with the WHO because of its actions.
“Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities,” Trump said during a news briefing at the White House on May 29.
“Countless lives have been taken, and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe. They strongly recommended against me doing the early ban from China, but I did it anyway and was proven to be 100 percent correct,” he continued.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization, despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” Trump also said.
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