Should You Worry About COVID-19 on Food? WHO Says No.

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Traces of the virus have been found on frozen food, but experts say there’s no need to worry

Traces of the novel coronavirus have been found on frozen food samples and packaging, raising concerns over potential transmission via food — a risk that experts say remains small, despite recent positive tests associated with imported frozen food.

This week, Chinese officials said that a sample of frozen chicken wings imported into Shenzhen from Brazil tested positive for the virus on the surface of the wings, Reuters reports. Traces of the virus had also been found on the packaging of frozen shrimp — imported from Ecuador — at a restaurant in the Anhui province, adding to a handful of instances since July where the virus was detected on the packaging of imported seafood products across China, CNN reports. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, officials are investigating the possibility that the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak in months could be linked to freight cargo, as one of the infected people works for a warehouse that receives imported frozen food, Reuters reports.

Despite this recent spotlight on imported frozen food, it’s very unlikely that you’ll catch the viral infection through food, according to health authorities, including those from the World Health Organization. Experts interviewed by the New York Times say that the traces of virus found on the frozen food is likely because someone with COVID-19 handled the product. Furthermore, while viruses can survive longer in low temperatures, the traces of virus found are just that — traces — and are not necessarily actively infectious. It is also unlikely that the coronavirus could survive after being heated through cooking and swallowed into the human digestive tract. While there’s always the risk of getting infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes/nose/mouth, transmission via fomites is still rare. It would be more prudent, experts say, to keep washing your hands, but more importantly, to avoid the main transmission route: direct contact with people.

And in other news…

  • TIL that Kamala Harris is the only current major candidate who drinks alcohol (and she apparently has pretty good taste in wine? Okay.) [SF Chronicle]
  • Chuck Schumer is backing the Restaurants Act, a bipartisan bill that would create a $120 billion fund for restaurants. [Bloomberg]
  • Are you ordering airline food to recreate the flying experience at home, or have you found less unhinged ways of coping with the pandemic? [WSJ]
  • Another TikTok food trend for you clout-hungry folks out there: nacho tables. [Delish]
  • Mike Pence: “I’ve got some red meat for you.” [@thehill/Twitter]

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