Life has changed a lot since the pandemic, but the CDC continues to recommend the basic daily safety protocols for preventing the spread and keeping yourself healthy: social distancing, diligent hand washing, masking up, and COVID testing. Even if you do the preventative practices, can you still get sick through food? It seems to be a high concern for a lot of people, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems a good time to answer the question once and for all. Let’s dive in and find out how the COVID-19 virus spreads and how we can prevent contamination.
What we know
Coronaviruses are known to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. There is no evidence linking the spread of the virus to association with food. In fact, research has shown that even if consumed, the virus will remain inactivated in the acidic environment of the stomach. It is unlikely the virus can progress into the gastrointestinal tract where it could cause illness. Therefore, when it comes to transmissibility and food, the packaging itself tends to be the greater danger. Even then, due to the COVID-19’s poor survivability on surfaces, the chances of transmission are very low from products that have been stored at even moderate temperatures, even less so if it has been refrigerated or frozen. Remember, the main form of transmission is still close contact with infected individuals, so practice standard safety procedures.
How can we kill the virus?
COVID-19 can be killed by thoroughly washing the packaging of your food, so even if it is contaminated, it’s not too late to inactivate or remove the virus. High temperatures can kill coronaviruses. With both temperature and humidity, it speedily inactivates the virus. Alcohol based cleaners and disinfectants can be used on the packaging of the food, but sure not to contaminate the product itself with the cleaning product.
How to incorporate this into your daily life
Using common safety practices is still the best prevention. Whenever preparing or eating food, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for the best protection. Wash all fruit and vegetables with hot water, before eating or preparing. Do not use soaps or disinfectants to wash your food. These are not designed for human consumption and are not safe to prepare food.
It’s officially cold and flu (and everything in between) season! If you think you’ve been exposed or are experiencing symptoms, find a Covid Clinic location near you for convenient COVID-19 and flu testing. Tests may vary by location.