Ice cream has tested positive for coronavirus in China and left health authorities scrambling to trace people at risk of infection.
Three samples of locally produced ice cream were found to be contaminated in the Tianjin municipality, in the northeast of the country.
Some 4,836 boxes have been identified as contaminated by the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company, of which 2,089 have now been sealed in storage.
A further 1,812 was dispatched to other provinces and 935 entered the local market but only 65 were sold, according to China Daily.
Shoppers who picked up one of the boxes of ice cream – using milk powder from Ukraine and whey from New Zealand – were urged by health officials to record their movements so potential infections could be tracked.
The 1,662 company employees have been ordered into self-isolation and underwent testing yesterday.
Dr. Stephen Griffin, a virologist based at the University of Leeds, said the ice cream’s positive test likely derived from human contact and was a ‘one-off’.
He told Sky News: ‘The chances are that this is the result of an issue with the production plant and potentially down to hygiene at the factory.’
That the ice cream is made with fat and is stored at cold temperatures would make it easy for the virus to have survived, he said.
But he added: ‘We probably don’t need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus.’