Decoding Food Safety – Can Coronavirus spread through food?

Ever since the pandemic, we have become extremely wary of how we manage and regulate our lives. We have started adopting all precautions to keep our families and ourselves safe. Since coronavirus is a communicable disease, there is a lot of uncertainty and suspicion around whether coronavirus can spread through food. 

Is it possible to be infected by COVID-19 virus through food?

Up until now, there is no evidence that COVID-19 virus can spread through food. We all know that the virus can spread from person-to-person through close contact and respiratory droplets when coughing or sneezing. The other way it commonly spreads is through surfaces contaminated with respiratory droplets containing the virus. If someone touches that surface they can transmit the virus to themselves by touching their mouth, nose, or eyes or by transmitting it to someone else by touching them. 

We’re still unsure about how long the virus can live on food as the regulatory authorities are currently unaware of any cases of coronavirus being spread by food or food packaging. Even if the virus were to land on food that you consume, there’s no proof swallowing the virus can lead to infection. What we know for now is that it needs to be transmitted to the respiratory system – into the nose, sinuses or lungs. 

Better safe than sorry

Even though foods are low-risk that doesn’t mean we should abandon all the safety precautions. Since we know that the virus can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours, we should ensure that precautionary measures are taken.

There are chances of the spread of the infection through various other reasons, such as if your grocery store owner or vegetable seller is sick. Similarly, an infected person delivering your groceries or food can leave traces of coronavirus on the package. 

Read : THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD SAFETY TESTING DURING A PANDEMIC

Therefore, basic precautionary actions should be followed regularly to eliminate the risk of contamination carried by an infected food handler on both food and containers’ surfaces. Restaurants must follow all the required regulatory guidelines to protect their customers and prevent the spread of the virus. Below are a few basic safety laws to ensure customer health as well as to run a healthy business. 

  • Hand sanitizers should be easily available 
  • Common touch points should be regularly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected
  • Wearing PPE should be mandatory
  • Employees should frequently wash their hands
  • Limit seating capacity to allow physical distancing 
  • Avoid self-service options 
  • Use of digital payment methods
  • Use of physical barriers such as plexiglass should be compulsory 

As restaurants are embracing the new normal with all these new guidelines in place, they should be extra cautious and incorporate additional measures to put customers’ minds at ease. Restaurants can collaborate with third-party agencies to elevate hygiene standards through 24/7 surveillance and certifications.

Talking about a definitive safety certification for restaurants,  Safe Place to Dine is a certification program by Equinox Labs for restaurants and food delivery services to audit and certify their safety parameters based on their level of compliance.

At a critical time like this, restaurants need to be extra careful and ensure round-the-clock safety by services like Hygiene Quotient, which is an app-based service to help build a safer space by monitoring your site’s daily safety and hygiene compliance through technology and innovation. 

We need to collectively as a society carry out control actions to avoid compromising with food safety and people’s health. 

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