National Fisheries Institute Statement on COVID19 and the Safety of Imported Shrimp

WASHINGTON, DC — The General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China suspended imports and ordered recalls of frozen shrimp from three Ecuadorian companies after the government claimed “outer packaging…were at risk of being contaminated by the new coronavirus.”

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been clear that there is no known transmission of the novel coronavirus from “food or food packaging”, and that there is “no reason to be concerned” about the virus passing in this way.  Guidance from the Centers for Disease ControlWorld Health Organization, and the European Food Safety Agency reinforce this finding.

In fact, the Chinese Customs announcement states they found no evidence of the virus on the inner packaging of the samples they tested, nor on the shrimp itself.

In addition, the Chinese government emphasized humans would not get COVID from the shrimp, stating, “Experts judged that the result of the detection did not mean that it was transmissive.”

Governments should follow the advice of the World Health Organization, which states, “Food has not been implicated in the transmission of COVID-19” and continues “testing of food or food surfaces for this virus is not recommended.” 

Simply stated global public health experts continue to state that humans will not get coronavirus from frozen food or its packaging.  Stating, implying, or reporting otherwise is just wrong. 

John Connelly
National Fisheries Institute