It is highly unlikely that food is a source of Covid-19 transmission, a team of experts on food contaminations says.
The International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) looked at the evidence that coronavirus might be carried on food or its packing and found very little.
“The ICMSF believes that it is highly unlikely that the ingestion of SARS-CoV-2 will result in illness; there is no documented evidence that food is a significant source and/or vehicle for transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” the organization said in a statement.
While it is possible that people could eat something contaminated with the virus and become infected that way, it’s never been seen to have happened, they said.
“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,” they wrote. “There are no foods that should be considered a risk or warrant consideration as a vector for SARS-CoV-2.”
There have been few reports of the virus being found on food products, ingredients and packaging materials and no evidence that links food or its packaging as a source of cross contact infection. However, it is still prudent to emphasize good food hygiene practices, the group said.
Some countries have restricted food imports, tested imported products or asked companies to state their products are coronavirus-free, but none of this is necessary, the ICMSF said.
“The focus for food businesses should be on protecting food workers, consumers and restaurant patrons from becoming infected by person-to-person SARS-CoV-2 spread,” they wrote.