Norway says its salmon did not cause virus at Beijing market

OSLO (Reuters) – Chinese and Norwegian authorities have concluded salmon from Norway was not the source of the coronavirus found on cutting boards at a Beijing wholesale food market, Norway’s fisheries and seafood minister said on Wednesday.

“We can clear away uncertainty,” Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen told a video conference.

Chinese and Norwegian officials had decided on Tuesday the source of the outbreak did not originate in fish from Norway, he added.

China halted imports of European salmon after reports on Saturday that the virus was discovered on equipment used for handling fish at Beijing’s Xinfadi market, prompting supermarkets in the Chinese capital to remove salmon from their shelves.

Norwegian salmon producers saw orders from China cancelled over the weekend, although Norway’s Food Safety Authority said there was no evidence fish could be infected.

Shares in Norwegian salmon farmers, which had fallen on Monday, rose on Wednesday with market leader Mowi up 3.6% and Salmar up 2.9% at 1004 GMT.

The Norwegian Seafood Council, a state-run marketing company, told Reuters that some shipments of salmon were being sent to major Chinese cities, with the exception of Beijing.

One salmon exporter, who declined to be named, said that some exports went through to China but most were still on hold.

Reporting and photo: Reuters

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