The inner packaging of a batch of imported cherries was found to be COVID-19 positive in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province. It is not yet clear what the source country is, but all unsold cherries from the same batch have been collected and are ready for destruction, local authorities told the Global Times on Friday.
The cherries are said to have been produced on December 18, 2020, and have been sold to customers in three districts in Wuxi, the local COVID-19 prevention group told the Global Times.
A total of 199 samples from the related environment, objects and personnel have been tested, all returning negative results, according to a statement released by the COVID-19 prevention team in Liangxi, Wuxi on Friday.
Imported cherries have become more popular this year among Chinese consumers as prices have sunk 20 percent, resulting from an oversupply, and exporters are eyeing a rebound in Chinese consumption amid COVID-19.
The average price on major e-commerce fresh food platforms has dropped to less than 80 yuan ($12) per kilo in the first weeks of January, down from 120 yuan per kilo, a 34 percent drop, according to media reports.
Some customers are concerned that the positive results from cherries could pose a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, and said they would prefer to wait for some time before purchasing imported cherries again.
Chilean cherries, followed closely by Australian, make up the bulk of China’s cherry imports.
This comes after claims from China that Australian cherries were of inferior quality, a claim quickly denied by Australian authorities.
Australia, New Zealand and Chile were quick to ensure buyers that their cherries were safe.