China has confirmed a sample taken from packaging on a shipment of New Zealand tripe tested positive for COVID-19 genetic material. But the New Zealand Government insists there is no evidence our products are the source of the contamination.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday said it was working to verify reports that traces of COVID-19 had been found on frozen beef and tripe after a report by Reuters over the weekend.
Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor on Wednesday said Jinan city authorities had now confirmed the positive test.
He said the product in question was stored in a cold storage facility along with meat products from other countries.
"There is no evidence that the New Zealand product was the source of COVID-19 on the packaging of products in the cold store facility," he said.
- 'Still no link between New Zealand meat and COVID': Govt confident NZ meat safe
- Officials working to confirm reports COVID-19 found on NZ meat exported to China
- More imported squid packaging in China tests positive for coronavirus
- China detains journalist Zhang Zhan for reporting Wuhan's COVID-19 outbreak
"We have strong national COVID-19 controls in place and a great track record of managing the disease. New Zealand food and fibre exporters have responded well to managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, keeping their workers and product safe, and their exports flowing."
New Zealand officials remained in contact with their Chinese counterparts, he said.
On Monday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was determined to "get to the bottom" of the issue, but was confident New Zealand meat was not the source of the contamination.
"We are confident of course that our products do not and are not exported with signs of COVID on them given our status as being essentially COVID-free," she said.