Chinese authorities now require Australian agricultural exporters to sign letters guaranteeing their produce is not COVID-19 contaminated, after a second outbreak at a Beijing seafood market. The Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has written to Australian food exporters and industry bodies after Chinese authorities started seeking declarations from exporters. It is understood other countries that export to China have been asked for similar guarantees. The department advised exporters it was responding promptly to Chinese authorities and that it supported the World Health Organisation’s advice that transmission through food was highly unlikely and there was no evidence of this occurring. “Australia has a strong regulatory system that requires all Australian facilities involved in the processing and export of food to implement appropriate hygiene and contamination control measures to mitigate the risk of the potential spread of COVID-19 within the scope of their activities,” the department’s letter said. The department said it did not consider it necessary for exporters to provide a letter of guarantee because the measures that industry and government had implemented in Australia meant it was highly unlikely that COVID-19 could be transmitted by food. However, DAWE said the situation was subject to change and therefore “urged exporters to work closely with their importers before dispatching consignments.” China’s requests for a “Letter of Guarantee” comes amid diplomatic tensions between the two nations, triggered by the Federal Government’s call for a global inquiry into the origins of the pandemic.