Sample of imported mango from Taiwan tested positive for COVID-19 virus

     A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (July 6) that in view of imported mango samples from Taiwan tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in Macao, the CFS has immediately stepped up surveillance of similar products and received testing reports from the Department of Health today that one surface sample of imported mango from Taiwan was found to be positive for the COVID-19 virus. 

     In view of the recent test results in Macao, the CFS immediately contacted the Macao authority for follow-up. During CFS's enhanced surveillance, a batch of 33 cartons of mangoes (total of around 200 kilograms) from Taiwan was held and nine samples were collected for testing. Test results showed that one mango surface sample was found to be positive for the virus. 

     Upon learning of the test results, the CFS has immediately instructed the distributor concerned to stop sale, remove from shelves the affected products, and dispose of the mango of the same batch. In addition, the CFS has inspected the warehouse and asked the operator to conduct thorough cleaning and disinfection. Sampling of similar products for testing will continue to be stepped up.

     To prevent the import of the COVID-19 virus through imported frozen foods, the CFS has stepped up precautionary testing measures since mid-2020, including enhanced testing of various types of frozen foods and their packaging imported from different countries/regions, which involves taking samples at the Airport Food Inspection Offices and cold stores of importers. Up to now, over 37 000 samples of food and their packaging have been collected for testing for the virus. Apart from the above-mentioned sample, only the pomfret fish and packaging samples announced last August, the cuttlefish slice and packaging samples announced last November, the packaging samples of beef and pork skin announced this February and the packaging samples of ox offal and chicken leg announced this April were found to be positive. The CFS will continue the sampling of imported frozen foods and their packaging for testing.

     The COVID-19 virus is predominantly transmitted through droplets and cannot multiply in food or food packaging. According to current scientific knowledge, the World Health Organization and food safety assessment authorities in overseas countries consider that it is unlikely that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted to humans via food consumption. Nevertheless, members of the public should always observe personal, food and environmental hygiene. The CFS reminds the public to pay attention to the following:
  • Always keep hands clean, particularly before touching the mouth, nose or eyes;
  • Rub hands with liquid soap for at least 20 seconds when washing before and after handling chilled and frozen food and its packaging, if any; after going to the toilet; and before eating;
  • Handle raw and cooked food separately, and pay special attention when handling raw meat and offal, to avoid cross-contamination of food; and
  • Cook food thoroughly and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:55