Food Safety in the Era of Coronavirus

Food Safety in the Era of Coronavirus

Dr. Levister | Contributor

Everything about daily life is different in the coronavirus era, and nowhere is that more true than in the kitchen. We’re nervously disinfecting surfaces, double and triple washing perishable foods, packing our pantries, hurriedly making pots of soup, and some of us are using an excess of time spent indoors to try new things like baking and canning.

It’s stressful, it’s confusing, and it’s alarming. Yet at the same time, we’re finding moments of calm in the kitchen, and even connection with friends, family, and colleagues —sometimes with people who are 500 miles away. But let’s talk about food safety.

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing,  sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely a very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Sometimes the foods we love and count on for good health are contaminated with germs that cause sickness and can even be deadly. More progress is needed to protect people and reduce foodborne illness in America.

New challenges to food safety will continue to emerge, largely because of changes in our food production and supply, including more imported foods. Changes in the environment leading to food contamination, better detection of multistate outbreaks, new and emerging bacteria, toxins, and antibiotic resistance. Changes in consumer preferences and habits and changes in the tests that diagnose foodborne illness.

You should always handle and prepare food safely, including keeping raw meat separate from other foods, refrigerating perishable foods, and cooking meat to the right temperature to kill harmful germs. See CDC’s Food Safety site for more information.

https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/newsletter/food-safety-and-Coronavirus.html. For more information on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s FAQ page.

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