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Can you catch the COVID-19 virus with food?

Mohamed Ibrahim Bassyouni
2020 / 5 / 7



There is currently no evidence of COVID-19 being transported through food. You may have thought about navigating the grocery store aisles´-or-a supermarket: Can you catch the new coronavirus from food?

Experts say that there is currently no evidence of transmission of new coronavirus COVID-19 through food. We don t really have any evidence that food´-or-food packaging is a source of COVID-19 infection.

There is much that we do not know about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, SARS-CoV-2. Our understanding of disease spread and food risk may change as more information becomes available. But as far as we know, the disease appears to be spread mainly from person to person through virus particles that spread when someone coughs´-or-sneezes, according to the various Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While COVID-19 can theoretically move by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your nose, mouth,´-or-eyes, this is not believed to be the primary mode of transmission, according to the CDC.

There are many factors that can make CoV-2 SARS transmission through food less likely, even if the virus is present on food´-or-the food agent is infected and transports you food.

  First, food safety measures already in place to prevent foodborne illnesses such as washing hands frequently, cleaning surfaces and utensils, and cooking food to the right temperature can reduce the transmission of any viral particles present in the food. One of the benefits we have in the food world is that we really think about these things a lot and constantly try to stay away from the transmission of foodborne pathogens in normal times.

Another factor is virus biology. It cannot survive for weeks on surfaces and is a feature of other foodborne viruses such as norovirus. Initial studies have found that the new coronavirus may last a few hours to a few days on certain surfaces, and unlike bacteria, viruses cannot grow within food, so it is expected that the amount of the virus in food will diminish over time, rather than grow.

  Also, this type of virus cannot survive in the stomach, which is acidic. However, the extent to which people can be infected by touching their mouths´-or-eating contaminated food is not yet clear.


Grocery and fast food tips
 
Although the risk of developing COVID-19 from food is low, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection.

  Food purchased from the store:
  * Always a good idea even when there is no pandemic. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables with water to remove -dir-t and pesticides and reduce levels of foodborne germs.

  * No need to wash food with soap. Soap is for the hands, not for the food.

  * If you are concerned about food packaging, you can wash your hands after handling the package.

  * If you are concerned about your food, you can cook it at 65 ° C for 3 minutes, which will drastically reduce the levels of any viral particles in it.
  To further reduce risk, people should wash their hands after handling food packaging´-or-takeaway bags.
It is also important for employers in the food industry to have strong employee health policies. Food workers should stay home if they begin to experience any symptoms, even if they are not diagnosed with COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases reported with food contamination were not reported. The main risk of transmission is from close contact with the infected. The advice for workers and consumers is to maintain social dimension practices, good hygiene and regular hand washing. Good cooking will kill the virus.
 
How is COVID-19 Pass?
  The virus is generally transmitted:

  * -dir-ectly, by coming into contact with the person’s body fluids (for example, drops of coughing´-or-sneezing)
  * In-dir-ectly, by coming in contact with surfaces that a person has coughing´-or-sneezing
  Current information indicates that the virus can last up to 72 hours (3 days) on solid surfaces depending on the substance. However, the number of viruses will decrease dramatically during that period as they die. Simple household antiseptics can kill it.


  What can food workers do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
  The regular appropriateness of work procedures implemented in food companies should ensure that injured workers do not handle food. Employees should not work if they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19. If an affected worker deals with food, he may be able to introduce a virus into the food he is working on,´-or-on surfaces within the food trade, by coughing and sneezing,´-or-through manual contact, unless he has strictly followed good personal hygiene practices.
 
These include:
  * Proper hand hygiene
  Avoid close contact with anyone who has symptoms of respiratory illnesses such as coughing and sneezing
  Additionally, she recommends "social distance" to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

  Wash hands and use gloves
  Is hand washing important?
  Yes, hand washing is very important. Food workers should wash their hands:
  * Before starting work
  * After coughing, sneezing´-or-bloating
  * Before handling cooked´-or-ready-to-eat food
  * After handling´-or-preparing food
  * After handling waste
  * After cleaning
  * After using the toilet
  * After eating, drinking´-or-smoking
  * After dealing with money
  * In general, regularly
  Good hygiene and cleaning are also important to avoid cross contamination between raw´-or-undercooked foods and foods cooked´-or-ready to eat in the kitchen.
 
What is the appropriate hand washing technique?
  Hands wet under warm running water
  Use enough soap to form a good lather
  * Rub all parts of hands with soap and water
  * Foam for at least 20 seconds, rub vigorously on all manual surfaces, including the fingertips and thumb
  * Rinse hands well with running water
  * Dry your hands well with disposable paper towels, if possible
 
Do food workers need to wear gloves?
  No. It is perfectly acceptable to prepare and handle food with bare hands, provided that hand-washing procedures are appropriate.

  Food workers can use gloves, but they must make sure to change gloves frequently and wash hands between changes of gloves and when removing gloves.
  Gloves should be changed after non-food activities such as opening´-or-closing doors by hand, emptying boxes, handling money, etc.

  Food workers should be aware that wearing gloves can allow bacteria to accumulate on the surface of hands, so hand washing is very important when removing gloves to avoid food contamination later.
  It is important to wash your hands even when wearing gloves, because contaminated gloves can spread germs on your hands when removing gloves.
 

If I wear gloves, is hand washing still important?
  Proper hand washing is very important, with´-or-without gloves. When using gloves, wash hands before applying gloves, between changing gloves and after removing gloves.
  The problem with using gloves is that if employees are not properly trained in food safety, gloves are often seen as a barrier to food contamination. Employees may then perform many non-food tasks (such as handling money, emptying boxes, and wiping tools) while wearing the same gloves they then use to prepare food.
When wearing gloves for an extended period of time, without frequent change and washing hands, bacteria multiply on the skin quickly due to the warm and moist environment of the gloves. If the gloves are torn´-or-removed and food is handled without washing hands, a large number of bacteria can be transferred to the food.

  WHO advice on glove use
  Does washing´-or-using a dishwasher eliminate the virus?
  As with soaps, washing fluid and dishwasher are likely to disable the virus. In particular, washing and drying dishes in a dishwasher at 60 ° C´-or-higher is effective in eliminating any risks.
 
Is there a risk to consumers from "open" food?
  Currently there is very little scientific information about COVID-19 (coronavirus) remaining on the surface of food. Working with similar viruses shows that some food surfaces do not allow the virus to stay at all, but others do.
  Therefore, it is important to maintain good hygiene practices around open foods (such as unpackaged breads, cakes, fruits, salads, etc.) and this will reduce the risk of food contamination. People should strictly monitor good personal hygiene practices at all times about open foods.
  Customers and food companies are expected to act in a healthy manner. Food companies are obligated to monitor open food offers to ensure they are healthy and avoid the presence of these open food offers near the shelves´-or-service tools, where customers request´-or-pay for food.
 
How should food companies manage open food offers?
  To help avoid COVID-19 transmission through surface contact, it is recommended to wash and sterilize all surfaces and utensils in contact with food.

  Food workers must practice hand washing frequently, and if gloves are used, they must be changed before and after preparing food. Food service workers should ensure frequent cleaning and sterilization of utensils and serving utensils and spice containers.
  If possible, hand sanitizer must be provided to consumers on their way into and out of the dining area.
 
COVID-19 is not transmitted through food´-or-ingredients. Even if the surfaces´-or-packages are contaminated, the virus will remain on these surfaces for only a short time, and therefore there is no risk of contamination.

 




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