Grieg Seafood: “We have moved China shipments”

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Grieg Seafood takes action after a new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing which has led China to halt sales of all salmon.

In recent days, Chinese authorities have shut down an area in the Fengtai district in the south of Beijing as clusters of infection in the city were traced back to a meat market in Xinfadi. It was here where traces of coronaviruses were found on a chopping board for imported salmon.

Cui He, president of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), has stated that the salmon industry will be affected by the outbreak, as authorities work out where the virus came from.

In a customer note on Monday, Carnegie analyst Lars Konrad Johnsen wrote that the situation “can be very challenging for the aquaculture industry. Grieg Seafood is one of the salmon farmers who expects some consequences from the new outbreak.

“China is currently not a big market for us with about 2.6 per cent of sales so far this year. We also don’t sell much to China right now, and have moved the shipments,” communications director Kristina Furnes told TDN Direkt.

In a press release, Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen of the Ministry of Industry and Fisheries says they have been contacted by Chinese authorities.

“Among other things, they have asked for information from the industry on the risk of infection associated with the production of fresh salmon. We want to respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible to minimise the detrimental effects on exports,” he said.

The ministry met on Monday with the Food Safety Authority and the industry, and asked for input into material that is being worked out and which will be shared with Chinese authorities on Tuesday.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has even posted a message on its website that there are no known cases of coronavirus infection via contaminated food, imported food or water.

“That’s why fish and seafood products from Norway are safe to eat,” the Norwegian Food Safety Authority writes.

“It creates some uncertainty in the coronavirus situation and there is a lot of uncertainty in the first place, but Norwegian exporters are used to it changing rapidly,”  CEO Botholf Stolt-Nielsen of the export company Ocean Supreme told NRK.