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Macau imposes another ban on Taiwan mangoes over COVID-19 concerns

2022-07-04
Focus Taiwan
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Macau imposes another ban on Taiwan mangoes over COVID-19 concerns
Macau imposes another ban on Taiwan mangoes over COVID-19 concerns

Taipei, July 3 (CNA) Macau on Saturday placed a ban on imports from a Taiwanese company after traces of the COVID-19 virus were detected in its shipment of mangoes, the second such ban in two days.

Macau's Municipal Affairs Bureau announced the one-week suspension, effective immediately, after samples collected from the external packaging of a batch of mangoes, weighing 50 kilograms, imported from Taiwan on July 1 tested positive for the novel coronavirus nucleic acid.

The bureau said the problematic mangoes from the company, which it did not name, had been destroyed, adding that the ban was "aimed at protecting Macau residents instead of targeting specific countries or regions."

According to the World Health Organization, there is "currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food, including fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet and their consumption should be encouraged."

The same protocol was also applied to food imports from other countries, such as Argentina, Poland, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, whose products were found to contain traces of the COVID-19 virus as well, the Macau bureau said.

It was the Chinese special administrative region's (SAR's) second ban on Taiwanese mango imports in two days.

Traces of the COVID-19 virus were found on samples from 100 kilograms of mangoes from another Taiwanese company on June 29, with the firm's products given a one-week ban on July 1.

However, both Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, a ministry-level government agency handling matters involving China, Macau, and Hong Kong, and the Council of Agriculture (COA) said on July 1 that they had not been notified about the suspension from the authorities in Macau.

The COA also urged Macau to deal with the matter professionally, particularly given that there is currently no scientific evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted via packaged produce.

Macau should follow proper risk control protocols that comply with international standards to ensure unfettered trade, it added.

The COA pointed out that China had imposed COVID-19-related restrictions on international trade with many countries in recent years and should provide scientific data to support those measures.

A number of countries have raised concerns over the matter during meetings of the World Trade Organization's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Committee, it noted.

For instance, Canada, the European Union, India, and the United States have been voicing their concerns over the issue since November 2020, the COA said.

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