EFET: 16 food questions and answers about food and coronavirus

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As part of the preventive measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus In the country, EFET informs consumers and food businesses of the following:

1) What do we know so far about COVID-19 respiratory disease associated with the new SARS-CoV-2 virus?

As we know to date, the new COVID-19 respiratory disease is due to a new type of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The modes of transmission of COVID-19 are closely related to that of other known coronaviruses. Different types of coronaviruses usually cause conventional colds in humans. In addition other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS coronaviruses, have appeared in the past and have led to serious respiratory problems. The main target organs of human coronavirus are the respiratory organs. The most important method of transmission is “droplet infection”, whereby coronaviruses are transmitted by humans or animals into the air through droplets and then inhaled. Also, pathogens in the hands can enter through the mucosa of the nose, mouth or eyes, and lead to infection.

2) Are there other possible transmission modes?

There are currently no cases that have shown that people are infected with the new type of coronavirus in another way, such as by eating contaminated food or by contact with contaminated objects. There are also no known reports of other coronaviruses related to foodborne infections or contact with dry surfaces. Transmission via surfaces that have recently been infected with viruses is nevertheless possible through touch infections. However, this is likely to occur only shortly after infection by a person who is ill, due to the relatively low stability of coronaviruses in the environment.

3) How can I protect myself against food contamination with the virus?

Up to now, the virus is not transmitted to humans through contaminated foods, but the general rules of daily hygiene, such as frequent hand washing with soap and hygiene when handling food, must be observed. Since viruses are heat sensitive, the risk of infection can also be further reduced by heating food.

4) Can the new type of SARS-CoV-2 be transmitted via plates and cutlery to canteens or other places of mass catering?

Coronaviruses can generally contaminate cutlery or plates, as obviously other surfaces, by sneezing or coughing directly at them, and can survive on these solid surfaces for some time. An epidermal infection could theoretically be possible if the virus is transmitted through cutlery or hands to the mucosa of the mouth, throat or eyes. However, no contamination with SARS-CoV-2 has been known through this transmission pathway and therefore transmission through this pathway is considered hitherto impossible.

5) Is the virus inactive by hand washing or dishwasher?

Like all encapsulated viruses in which genetic material is coated with a layer of fat, coronaviruses are susceptible to fat-soluble substances, such as alcohols or surfactants, contained in soaps and dish detergents. These substances are thought to damage the surface of the virus and render the virus inactive. This is especially true if dishes are washed and dried in a dishwasher at 60 degrees Celsius or higher.

6) Are special precautions for dishes or cutlery required in the aged care facilities?

All standard measures and rules of conduct to protect against viruses or influenza viruses in aged care facilities help to transmit COVID-19.

7) Can I get SARS-CoV-2 through contaminated frozen foods?

So far, there is no evidence of contamination by eating foods, including frozen foods. In any case, you must strictly comply with the general hygiene rules when preparing food.

8) How can I protect myself when I go to the supermarket?

One key way to prevent the virus from spreading is to keep it 2 meters away from other people. Generally, coronary heart disease is transmitted from person to person by droplets from infected individuals who sneeze, cough or exhale. Such “social distance” is the main strategy in any situation outside the home.

Other ideas:

  • Go shopping when there is not much traffic.
  • Take antiseptic with you. Use it to wipe your hands and the basket before and after the store.
  • Use a credit or debit card. Also, use your own pen to sign the receipts.
  • When you return home, thoroughly wash your hands and kitchen surfaces.

9) Are meat products contaminated by the corona?

There are no reports of human diseases suggesting that COVID-19 can be transmitted from foods or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (ie wash your hands and surfaces frequently, separate raw meat from other foods, cook at the right temperature, and refrigerate foods quickly) when handling or preparing foods. .

10) Should I consume fruits and vegetables?

The simple answer is YES. So far there is no evidence to suggest that humans can be affected by eating fruits and vegetables, although the virus can be found if it is contaminated by a person who is infected. Therefore, what you are suggested to do is adhere to the basic hygiene rules. If one wants to be more meticulous:

Because SARS-CoV-2 comes from a family of viruses that are likely to be inactivated by soap and lukewarm water, washing your fruits and vegetables with soap and water should eliminate any living virus. As already noted, however, no transmission of the disease has been observed through the consumption of foods, including fruits and vegetables.

11) Do I also packages?

You could use dish soap in plastic, glass and metal. Transmission of the virus through this pathway has not been observed. If this is not practical, wash your hands thoroughly after removing all packaging, including cartons and containers. Finally, wash your hands, countertops and other surfaces you have touched. Do this after you have stored the food properly.

12) Can I boost my immune system through my diet?

Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet, and no particular food or dietary supplement will prevent you from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 or dealing with the virus if you get sick. Good hygiene practice remains the best means of preventing contamination.

To date, the European Food Safety Authority has not approved any health claims for a food or food ingredient labeled as protecting against infection.

There are many nutrients involved in the normal functioning of the immune system so as to encourage the maintenance of a balanced diet to support immune function (include copper, folic acid, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B6, D). We do not recommend any foods in relation to each other, but we encourage the consumption of a variety of foods to maintain a balanced diet.

14) A worker in the food processing plant / farm is positive about SARS-CoV-2. What steps should I take to ensure that the food I produce is safe?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. There is currently no evidence to support the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from food. Unlike infectious gastrointestinal viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A, which often infect humans with contaminated foods, SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that mainly causes respiratory problems. Exposure to foods in this virus is not known as a route of transmission.

While the primary responsibility in this case is to take appropriate measures to protect other workers and persons who may come in contact with the sick worker, facilities should redouble their cleaning and sanitation efforts to control any risks that may arise. may be related to employees

Should the food produced at the facility be recalled during the employee’s eventual transmission of the virus while he was working?

Foods are not expected to be recalled or withdrawn from the market due to SARS-CoV-2, as there is currently no evidence to support that SARS-CoV-2 transmission relates to food or packaging food.

15) Should a worker at the food processing plant be found to be SARS-CoV-2 positive should the plant be closed? If so, for how long?

These decisions are not based on food safety but on public health risk due to the transmission of the virus from person to person.

16) With regard to SARS-CoV-2, how can self-service buffet be managed such as salad bars in retail?

There is no evidence to suggest that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is related to food or food packaging.

It is possible that someone may be infected by SARS-CoV-2 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not considered to be the main mode of transmission. virus. Coronavirus is mainly transmitted from one person to another by inhaled droplets. However, it is always important to follow the 4 basic steps in food safety – cleaning, separating, cooking and cooling – to prevent food poisoning.

As an additional precaution to avoid contamination of SARS-CoV-2 through contaminated surface contact, frequent washing and disinfection of all surfaces and utensils that come into contact with food is recommended. Caterers should also wash their hands frequently and change gloves before and after food preparation, including frequent cleaning and disinfection of preparation benches and containers. Consumers should wash their hands after using the serving utensils and not touch their face with their hands.

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