By Jayne Roth
Restaurants, processing facilities and other food-centered businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as these are typically places where individuals gather in close proximity. While we have been assured by every non-governmental and governmental institution that COVID-19 is not spread via food, there is burgeoning evidence from a Biorxiv preliminary report that contradicts this statement. Many articles written on the subject indicate that there is no scientific evidence demonstrating transmission of coronavirus from frozen food or food packaging. And yet, other research indicates that transmission of the virus from touching contaminated foods “should alert food safety competent authorities and the food industry of a ‘new normal’ environment where this virus is posing a non-traditional food safety risk,” the authors wrote.
While contemplating the possibility that coronavirus was found on inanimate surfaces, including food surfaces, it is important to consider how the virus is most likely transferred (i.e., respiratory droplets, touching contaminated food surfaces followed by touching of one’s eyes or inside the nose). However, even with limited current epidemiological evidence, some sources imply that the coronavirus could be transferred to humans through contact with contaminated food items. At this time, the science does not fully support that statement. Conversely, it shouldn’t be completely ruled out as a possibility.