Still no evidence of COVID-19 transmission from food, FDA says
Sunday, February 21, 2021, 20:00 (GMT + 9)
The following is an excerpt from an article published by Live Science:
There is "no credible evidence" that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is transmitted through contaminated food or food packaging, according to a statement just released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The statement follows a news conference held by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week, during which scientists listed frozen packages of food as a possible source of coronavirus transmission, NPR reported. The link or lack thereof between food and coronavirus spread also has implications for figuring out the origin of the coronavirus outbreak and later pandemic, which seems to have started in Wuhan, China.
Disease ecologist Peter Daszak, a member of the WHO team investigating the origins of the pandemic, said that the team is "trying to keep an open mind" about what sparked the early COVID-19 superspreader event at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. In recent months, Chinese state media has pushed a theory that the coronavirus first emerged elsewhere and that it hitched a ride on frozen food sold at the market, Reuters reported. And China has also blamed frozen food imports for a spate of new infections, saying several packages have tested positive for the virus, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The seafood market outbreak was most likely tied to a live animal at the market, or an infected vendor or customer, but the WHO team hasn't discounted frozen meat and seafood as another potential source of infection, Daszak said, according to NPR.
Although the WHO team is still considering this theoretical route of transmission, the FDA just threw cold water on that notion, reiterating that the risk of picking up SARS-CoV-2 from food or food packaging "is exceedingly low." The coronavirus primarily spreads from person-to-person in droplets that spray from the mouth and nose, Live Science previously reported.
"It's particularly important to note that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person, unlike foodborne or gastrointestinal viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food," Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs, wrote in the statement.
The FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based this assessment on research conducted by various countries throughout the pandemic, Woodcock wrote. She also noted that there's an "international consensus" about the low risk of transmission from food and food packaging, and that no national or international surveillance systems have found a link between food products and COVID-19 transmission.
"Considering the more than 100 million cases of COVID-19, we have not seen epidemiological evidence of food or food packaging as the source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to humans," she wrote.(continue...)
Author: Nicoletta Lanese / Live Science | Read the full article by clicking the link here