Zespri to continue shipments as normal to China after Covid detection in fruit

Mon 04/10/2021 by Richard Wilkinson

New Zealand kiwifruit exporter Zespri has said that shipments to China will continue as normal after some of its fruit tested positive for Covid-19 in the country. The firm launched emergency management plans after a batch of its fruit tested positive for the virus and stocks were pulled from some Chinese supermarket shelves.

In a statement, Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson confirmed it was Zespri fruit exported in August that tested positive, and all subsequent tests had come back negative.

“We continue to work constructively with authorities following the test result. This remains the only positive test on our kiwifruit, with all subsequent (and previous) COVID-19 tests proving negative,” said Mathieson. “We are continuing to supply our fruit into China as normal. All shipments into China have been processed in accordance with standard protocols, including testing for COVID-19 and disinfecting to provide additional certainty. This is the same process all previous imports to China have followed.”

In a statement, Zespri said that it expects “some short-term impact” but is encouraged by the response from Chinese consumers who continue to show trust in its fruit.

The Market Supervision Authority and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Yaohai District Hefei City Anhui Province detected Covid-19 in a sample of kiwifruit during routine testing in the wholesale market. The affected fruit from the Bay of Plenty was packed in May before being shipped from Tauranga on August 16. There remains no reported community transmission in the region.

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