COVID-19: Fruit packaging scare in China believed to be unconnected to New Zealand fruit

The virus was reportedly detected on the packaging of imported cherries in China.
The virus was reportedly detected on the packaging of imported cherries in China. Photo credit: File

The industry body for stone-fruit growers in New Zealand is reassuring international customers of our COVID-free status after the virus was reportedly found on fruit packaging in China.

Chinese media organisation The Global Times reported that the virus was found on the inner packaging of imported cherries in the city of Wuxi, near Shanghai.

The outlet said it's unclear what country the fruit originated from.

Summer Fruit chief executive Richard Palmer said the Ministry for Primary Industries had not been advised by Chinese authorities that this detection is in any way connected with New Zealand fruit.

"As New Zealand officials have not been advised of a COVID-19 detection, and with New Zealand free of COVID-19 in the community, Summerfruit New Zealand can only conclude that this apparent case is not related to New Zealand fruit.

"The last case of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community was on November 18, 2020, before the export summerfruit harvest started," Palmer said.

He said the summerfruit industry has rigorous food safety procedures in place, including the monitoring of staff health for COVID-19.

"With strict food safety and quality processes in place, and the country free of COVID-19, New Zealand fruit represents the safest possible source of fresh fruit, a reputation our industry strives to maintain."


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