A Chinese company has been forced to discard thousands of boxes of ice cream after three samples of the frozen treat tested positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, news broke that chocolate, strawberry, and taro ice cream produced by the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company were contaminated with the coronavirus, Huff Post reports.

The contaminated batches of ice cream were produced using raw materials, including whey powder imported from Ukraine and milk powder imported from New Zealand.

Although 4,836 boxes are expected to be contaminated, the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company has already sealed away 2,089 boxes of the COVID-19 positive ice cream, Sky News reports.

However, more than 2,700 of the contaminated ice cream flavors have entered China’s food market. Officials are urging locals to refrain from purchasing the frozen dessert to avoid potential health risks.

Authorities advised residents who may have purchased the contaminated product to update their communities about their health conditions.

Nonetheless, Dr. Stephen Griffin, a virologist who works at the University of Leeds, doesn’t believe anyone should panic over the contaminated ice cream. 

“It’s likely this has come from a person, and without knowing the details, I think this is probably a one-off,” he said.

“Of course, any level of contamination is not acceptable and always a cause for concern, but the chances are that this is the result of an issue with the production plant and potentially down to hygiene at the factory.”

Griffin believes the virus was able to survive in the ice cream because the product contains fat and was stored at a cold temperature.

After learning about the contamination, all 1,662 Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company employees went into quarantine. 

So far, 700 employees have tested negative for COVID-19 as of Friday. However, the results of the remaining staff members have not been revealed.

Ice Cream Tubs of ice cream are displayed at Swensen's Ice Cream shop in San Francisco, California, July 5, 2007. Photo: Getty Images