Food not a transmitter of coronavirus

Food not a transmitter of coronavirus

Coronavirus
Leading health and research institutes say food, including non-packaged fresh fruit and vegetables, is not shown to transmit coronavirus.

Leading health and research institutes say food, including non-packaged fresh fruit and vegetables, is not shown to transmit coronavirus.

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Scientists say there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.

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Despite studies suggesting coronavirus may persist on different surfaces for up to several days, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.

Leading health and research institutes are saying extra care should be taken with hygiene when handling food, however it is important to know that food, including non-packaged fresh fruit and vegetables, is not shown to transmit the virus.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand says so far there is no evidence that people have become infected by swallowing the virus in or on food or drink.

This is a sentiment echoed by European Food Safety Authority chief scientist Marta Hugas.

"Experiences from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), show that transmission through food consumption did not occur," she said.

"At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is any different in this respect."

Hort Innovation chief executive officer Matt Brand said now, more than ever before, it is important that Australians eat a healthy, nutritious diet to boost their immunity.

"They can do this by purchasing and eating the range of fruit, nuts and vegetables that continue to be available on store shelves," he said.

With healthy eating proven to help build and maintain a stronger immune system for all ages, CEO of Nutrition Australia Victorian Division, Lucinda Hancock, urged everyone to keep picking fruit and vegetables from shelves, washing them and enjoying their health benefits.

FSANZ recommends following precautionary measures issued by the World Health Organisation when preparing and handling food.

These include:

  • washing hands before handling food, and between handling raw and cooked foods
  • thorough cooking and proper handling of meat products
  • covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
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