Ice cream samples in China's Tianjin city were reportedly contaminated by COVID-19, reports say.
The Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd. sent samples to the municipal center on Tuesday and Wednesday. Three samples tested positive for the coronavirus prompting authorities to seal all their storage goods as they investigate further the virus' origin, Sky News reported.
Out of the 4,836 boxes of ice cream suspected to be contaminated by the virus, 2,089 boxes were sealed.
"Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold," says the municipal government.
"It said 390 sold in Tianjin were being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sales to their areas," reports The Associated Press.
Sky News also reports that "a total of 935 boxes of the ice cream, out of 2,747 boxes that entered the market, were in Tianjin and only 65 were sold to markets."
1,662 employees of the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Co.,Ltd. were ordered to undergo quarantine on top of the nucleic acid testing on Thursday. There were no signs, however, of coronavirus infection on the 700 employees. Test results for the remaining 962 people are yet to be determined.
The food company's ice cream uses milk powder imported from New Zealand and also whey powder from Ukraine
Dr. Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, believed that the cold temperature and the fat in the ice cream contributed to the survival of the virus. He, however, said that the public don't need to be alarmed.
"We probably don't need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus," Dr. Griffin told Sky News.
"It's likely this has come from a person, and without knowing the details, I think this is probably a one-off," he added.
Dr. Griffin also said that this could possibly be an issue in the production and hygiene at the factory.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that there is no clear evidence yet to suggest that "handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19," says the report of The Blaze.
"Coronaviruses, like the one that causes COVID-19, are thought to spread mostly person-to-person through respiratory droplets when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks," they explained
While it's still possible that one can contract the virus by touching the surface of the food packaging then unconsciously touching your face where the virus may gain entry through your eyes, nose, or mouth, CDC further explained that it's not the main way the virus spreads.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also agrees to CDC's assessment.
"Currently there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects," they said.
For those concerned about possible contamination from food or its packaging, FDA advised hand washing before and after removing the packaging, same with the preparation and before eating. Frequently disinfecting and cleaning surfaces were highly recommended.