SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — The new coronavirus outbreak is prompting consumers to raise concerns about Chinese food recipes, and the risk of infection through Chinese staff at restaurants.
Seoul’s Daerim-dong, Incheon’s Chinatown, and other hotspots for Chinese food are facing gloomy prospects for the immediate future.
“Distorted views and false rumors are putting businesses at risk ever since the coronavirus outbreak,” said Park Jin-bong, head of the Daerim Jungang Culture and Tourism Market Task Force.
Netizens are inquiring on social networks and other online communities if Chinese food is safe to eat.
What’s more, false rumors tell of how kimchi offered in Korean restaurants, much of which is imported from China, can transmit coronaviruses.
Experts argue, however, that coronavirus transmission through food is unlikely.
“Chinese food takes a long time in production and shipping, which makes it unlikely to host coronaviruses,” said Dr. Jung Eun-kyeong, the director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
“The coronavirus affects the respiratory system, which makes it unlikely that it could be transmitted through food,” added Prof. Jeon Byung-yul, a former director of the KCDC.
Despite expert opinions, concerns among consumers are expected to continue as many Chinese restaurants are frequented by Chinese visitors, with the staff also coming from China.
Public opinion is also steering towards an implicit boycott of Chinese restaurants to block off any chance of secondary infection.
Excessive fear or concern driven by false rumors spread online, however, is not necessary, experts say.
“It is true that people are concerned over Chinese food since the coronavirus originates from China,” said Jeon. “But the virus doesn’t spread through food, so consumers shouldn’t be worried about Chinese food.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)