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Taiwan mangoes not to be sneezed at

Toxicologist says Macau's claim of COVID infected fruit imported from Taiwan makes no sense

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Taiwan produces some of the world's best mangoes. (Taiwan News, Jackie Quartly photo)

Taiwan produces some of the world's best mangoes. (Taiwan News, Jackie Quartly photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Someone with COVID has been sneezing on Taiwan’s mangoes in China-controlled Macau, an expert toxicologist suggested on Friday (July 1).

The Macau Municipal Affairs Bureau imposed a one-week ban on Taiwan mangoes after claiming that border tests Wednesday (June 29) on a batch of 100 kilograms of the fruit showed they were infected with the disease.

A report cited by the China Times said the 20 boxes of mangoes were destroyed. In response, toxicologist Zhao Ming-wei (招名威) was reported as saying the only way COVID could have got on the fruit was if someone had sneezed on it.

Also, even if there was COVID on the fruit, it most likely would have come from someone sneezing on the fruit in Macau, not Taiwan a few days previously, or in transit.

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meanwhile, pointed out that China’s authorities had also recently claimed that residue traces of COVID had been found on horse mackerel packaging from Taiwan.

Other countries have previously called Beijing out for banning imports based on claims it has found traces of the COVID virus on foodstuffs. They say Beijing is doing this as part of its unfair trade practices.

Furthermore, as Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) confirmed Friday, there is no scientific rationale for the idea of COVID being transmitted from plants or packaging to people.

To date, Taiwan has exported 0.94 tonnes of mangoes to Macau this year, per the COA.