The Ministry of Health (MoH) issued a dispatch on November 24 to various government agencies and local authorities, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade, the General Department of Vietnam Customs, and the People’s Committees of provinces and cities. The purpose of this dispatch is to inform them of a new measure regarding imported food packaging in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under this measure, the MoH has proposed that the designated bodies instruct their relevant agencies to collect samples from imported food packaging items, particularly frozen food, for testing. The test results will then be sent to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control for evaluation.

Furthermore, the relevant agencies are also required to enforce strict measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 among firms involved in importing food items. This includes compliance with the directives of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in strengthening prevention activities.

This new measure is a response to recent discoveries of live coronavirus on frozen food packaging in various countries. Notably, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found live coronavirus on frozen food packaging in Qingdao, indicating that the virus can survive in cold supply chains. China has also suspended imports of fishery products from Indonesia and reported traces of the virus on frozen chicken wings from Brazil and frozen prawns from Ecuador.

Despite these findings, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has not yet issued any documents regarding the implementation of inspection work on imported food entering Vietnam. However, the Regional Animal Health Office No.6 (RAHO6) has conducted tests on 171 samples of cattle, poultry, fishery products, and frozen food packaging imported from 15 countries, all of which have returned negative results for COVID-19.

This information was originally published on Dtinews.