Coronavirus Cannot Transmit Through Food, Despite Recent Reports from China
Earlier this month, chicken wings in Shenzhen, China that were imported from Brazil tested positive for COVID-19. Shenzhen health authorities immediately traced and tested people who might have come into contact with the product, and all results came back negative; all related products in stock have been sealed off and tested negative, a statement gathered by CNN said.
The Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) said it is analyzing the incident and restated that "there is no scientific evidence that meat transmits the virus," adding, "It is not yet clear when the packaging was contaminated, and whether it occurred during the export transportation process."
The WHO says it is "highly unlikely that people can contract Covid-19 from food or food packaging." According to the CDC, the risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is "thought to be very low." David Hui Shu-Cheong, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the imported food products that tested positive in China were almost certain to have been contaminated during packaging.
Experts have made it clear that despite reports such as this, COVID-19 is unlikely to be transmitted through food. Dr. Ian Williams, chief of the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated, "This really is respiratory, person-to-person. At this point, there is no evidence really pointing us towards food (or) food service as ways that are driving the epidemic." Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University said "When you eat any kind of food, whether it be hot or cold, that food is going to go straight down into your stomach, where there's high acidity, a low-pH environment that will inactivate the virus."
While getting COVID-19 through food or food packaging is unlikely, proper sanitization techniques help prevent not only COVID-19 but other illnesses as well. It is suggested to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use the safe food handling recommendations outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).