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Publication #FSHN20-18

COVID-19 and Food Safety FAQ: Is Coronavirus a Food Safety Issue?1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman2

This flyer is best viewed as a PDF. It provides information about food safety in relation to COVID-19.

CDC and USDA are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.

IS FOOD IMPORTED FROM COUNTRIES AND STATES AFFECTED BY COVID-19 AT RISK OF SPREADING COVID-19?

  • Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

IF AN EMPLOYEE AT A FOOD ESTABLISHMENT BECAME INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS, WOULD THE FOOD PRODUCED AT THAT FACILITY BE SAFE TO EAT?

  • Food establishment personnel who are ill with COVID-19 or any other illness should be excluded from work activities that could create unsanitary conditions (i.e., coughing or sneezing on product).

  • COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets that can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.

CAN I GET SICK WITH COVID-19 FROM TOUCHING FOOD, THE FOOD PACKAGING, OR FOOD CONTACT SURFACES, IF THE CORONAVIRUS WAS PRESENT ON IT?

  • Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.

  • Coronaviruses need a living host (animal or human) to grow in and cannot grow in food.

  • Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects.

HOW SHOULD FOOD BE HANDLED DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

  • As always, follow good hygiene and food safety practices when preparing food:

    • Purchase food from reputable sources.

    • Cook food thoroughly and maintain safe holding temperatures.

    • Use good personal hygiene.

    • Clean and sanitize surfaces and equipment.

For More Information

Visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

(800) 232-4636

Footnotes

1.

This document is FSHN20-18, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication. © NCSU. Used with permission.

2.

Natalie Seymour, MS, Extension associate; Mary Yavelak, MS, Extension associate; Candice Christian, MPH, Extension associate; and Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist; NC State University Extension. UF Contact: Michelle Danyluk, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL | mddanyluk@ufl.edu | (863) 956-8654.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.