Brazil asks China for proof chicken wings had coronavirus

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Brazil has asked Chinese authorities to provide results of laboratory tests that detected traces of the novel coronavirus on chicken wings exported by the South American country, according to a statement sent to Reuters by Brazil's Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday.

The request was made during a meeting in the city of Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, where Brazilian agriculture attachés met local health and trade officials on Tuesday, the statement said.

In response, according to the statement, the Chinese participants said the results are being kept by health authorities of Guangdong, who did not participate in the meeting.

The Brazilians said they would continue to liaise with China's municipal, provincial and central government's to obtain the lab reports as well as other relevant information pertaining to the case.

The contamination claim concerns chicken wings produced at a Brazilian poultry plant registered under SIF number 601, the statement said.

Aurora, the company which operates that facility in Southern Brazil, voluntarily suspended poultry exports to China effective Aug. 20 pending more clarifications regarding the alleged contamination.

According to the Brazilian government, Chinese officials at the meeting said three samples had tested positive for the novel coronavius: one taken from the chicken wings, and two from the packaging of products coming from Aurora's plant in the town of Xaxim.

"The health authorities in Shenzhen were unable to say whether the findings concerned only the detection of the virus' genetic material or the active virus, nor were they able to provide further information about the alleged finding," the statement said.

The alleged contamination led the Philippines to impose a temporary ban on poultry meat imports from Brazil while Hong Kong halted chicken imports from Aurora's Xaxim facility.

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by David Gregorio)

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