Now more than a year since the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been around, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention are stressing that there is no credible evidence that the virus can be transmitted through food or food packaging.
Unlike foodborne or gastrointestinal viruses that often make people ill through contaminated food, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person-to-person. There has not been any epidemiological evidence of food or food packaging as the source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to humans.
Per the USDA:
- While there are relatively few reports of the virus being detected on food and packaging, most studies focus primarily on the detection of the virus’ genetic fingerprint rather than evidence of transmission of virus resulting in human infection. Given that the number of virus particles that could be theoretically picked up by touching a surface would be very small and the amount needed for infection via oral inhalation would be very high, the chances of infection by touching the surface of food packaging or eating food is considered to be extremely low.
- Food business operations continue to produce a steady supply of safe food following current Good Manufacturing Practices and preventive controls, focusing on good hygiene practices and keeping workers safe.