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CAN THE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD THROUGH FOOD?

Every day births new theories and speculations about the COVID-19 virus. Can animals be infected with it? Is the virus airborne now? Can it be contracted through food? There are understandably a lot of questions amidst a lot of global anxiety.

With food considerations, however, it appears there’s little need to panic. According to the World Health Organisation, “to date, there have not been any reports of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) through food.” Nevertheless, WHO warns, “concerns were expressed about the potential for these viruses to persist on raw foods of animal origin.”

It’s important to note that the Coronaviruse is very stable in a frozen state, according to studies, and can survive for up to two years at -20°C. Research also shows that at refrigeration temperature (4°C), the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours. “Current evidence on other coronavirus strains shows that while coronaviruses appear to be stable at low and freezing temperatures for a certain period, food hygiene and good food safety practices can prevent their transmission through food,” says WHO.

So, while cooking your food will most likely eliminate chances of contamination, the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided at this time. Also beware of cross-contamination with uncooked foods, such as raw meat, raw milk or raw animal organs.

Additional recommendations and materials on food safety are available on the WHO website.