Trade Minister Damien O'Connor says the latest update on the meat product packaging found in China with traces of Covid-19 shows there is "still no link between New Zealand meat and Covid" in the cool stores.
O'Connor was confident it was not New Zealand meat, after Reuters reported there was Covid-19 on beef and tripe products and packaging, originating from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand found in Jinan, China.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media yesterday some New Zealand meat was kept in the same cool store as packaging from Argentina that had tested positive for Covid-19.
O'Connor said he was recently updated by officials that there was "still no link between New Zealand meat and Covid in the cool stores".
"Clearly the Chinese will be looking at the sources of Covid and obviously there’ll be some investigation - but no links to us."
O’Connor did not think there was any adverse perception impact on New Zealand’s product – "we’re upfront with all our training partners, they understand our Covid situation, we’re continuing to trade goods".
"I feel confident with the practices we have in place with exporters and no community transmission, it won’t be from New Zealand."
Swabbing imported goods into New Zealand had been talked about O’Connor said, but added the likelihood of Covid being transferred was low.
The New Zealand Argentinian Embassy said there was an allegation received on November 12 "of nucleic acid in the external packaging of a shipment of beef from Argentina".
"The alleged event did not affect the product, which is in perfect condition and meeting all the required sanitary standards, but rather the outer packaging at the cold store facilities where it had been transferred.
"In this respect, we would like to indicate that this is an isolated case, being the first time that this has happened in the packaging of products from Argentina since the pandemic began."