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Coronavirus transmission and food: What the FDA says

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How likely is it to catch a coronavirus by touching a food package that has the genetic imprint of the virus exists?

A few days ago, on February 18, 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement regarding the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus through the food chain.

According to the doctors consulted by Revyuh, who explained that the latest data on Covid-19 infection, and according to the agency, there is no convincing evidence of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through food or food packaging.

It is particularly important to note that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness transmitted from person to person, as opposed to viruses transmitted through food or the gastrointestinal tract, such as norovirus and hepatitis A. Although there are some reports of the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in food and packaging, most studies focus primarily on detecting the genetic footprint of the virus rather than on virus transmission elements leading to infection.

Since the number of virus particles that could theoretically be collected by touching a surface with the hands would be very small and the amount required for oral inhalation contamination would be very high, the probability of contamination by touching the surface of a food package or consuming food is considered extremely low. 

For example, a bit of recent advice by an expert from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF), said: “Despite the billions of meals and food packages handled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to date there has not been any evidence that food, food packaging or food handling is a source or important transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 resulting in COVID-19.”

In addition, one year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no epidemiological evidence of COVID-19 outbreaks sourced from the food chain.

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