FDA: no transmission of COVID-19 through food or food packaging

The following statement is attributed to Acting USDA Secretary Kevin Shea and Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, highlighting current epidemiological and scientific information indicating no transmission of COVID-19 through food or food packaging .

After more than a year since the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a global health emergency, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States continues to point out that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 ), the virus that causes COVID-19.

Our confidence in the security of the US food supply remains unwavering. Consumers should be reassured that we continue to believe, based on our understanding of the reliable scientific information currently available, and supported by an overwhelming international scientific consensus, that the foods they eat and the food packaging they eat. affect are very unlikely to spread SARS-CoV-2.

It is especially important to note that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is transmitted from person to person, unlike foodborne or gastrointestinal viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A which make often people get sick through contaminated food. Although there are relatively few reports of detection of the virus on food and packaging, most studies focus primarily on detecting the genetic fingerprint of the virus rather than on evidence of transmission of the virus resulting in human infection. Since the number of viral particles that could theoretically be picked up by touching a surface would be very low and the amount needed for oral inhalation infection would be very high, the chances of infection by touching the surface of a food packaging or while eating food is considered extremely low.

USDA and FDA share this update based on the best available information from scientific bodies around the world, including an ongoing international consensus that the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans from food and packaging is extremely low. For example, a recent opinion of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF), said: “Despite the billions of meals and food packages processed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, To date, there is no evidence that food, food packaging, or food handling is a significant source or route of transmission for SARS-CoV-2 resulting in COVID-19. ” Additional literary magazines and analyzes other countries agree.

Additionally, considering the over 100 million cases of COVID-19, we have not seen epidemiological evidence from food or food packaging as a source of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans. In addition, transmission has not been attributed to food products or packaging through national and international surveillance systems. Food business operations continue to produce a constant supply of safe food in accordance with current good manufacturing practices and preventive controls, focusing on good hygiene practices and ensuring worker safety.

Based on the scientific information that continues to be available during the pandemic, the USDA and FDA remain confident in the safety of foods available to U.S. consumers and exported to international customers.

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