does-coronavirus-spread-through-food-if-the-food-handler-is-infected
5
Does Coronavirus spread through food, if the food handler is infected?

Does Coronavirus spread through food, if the food handler is infected?

Last Reviewed : 12/15/2020
Does Coronavirus spread through food, if the food handler is infected?

Novel Coronavirus is stable in frozen food. According to World Health Organization, Coronaviruses can remain stable for two years at a temperature of -20 C. Novel Coronavirus is also isolated from raw and uncooked meat in China. Eating raw and uncooked food or eating frozen food without heating may carry a risk of COVID-19 infection.

Coronaviruses are heat-labile. According to a study published in the journal Medical Microbiology and Immunology, SARS coronavirus can be inactivated by heating at 60 C for 30 minutes. Coronaviruses do not remain viable at cooking temperatures. Similarly, these viruses are completely destructed by boiling water. COVID-19 does not spread from cooked food and boiled water.

Now, what if the food handler has COVID-19? Does Novel Coronavirus spread from a take-out from a restaurant? Food hygiene and standardized food processing prevent the risk of COVID-19 infection. So far, there are no cases of the spread of COVID-19 disease through food. There were instances where viruses like Hepatitis A was spread through food because of an infected food handler. However, Hepatitis A is a foodborne virus. Foodborne spread is one of the primary modes of transmission. Whereas, droplet and contact are the primary modes of transmission for respiratory viruses like Novel Coronavirus.

If there is any concern that the food handler may have sneezed or coughed over the food before it is delivered it to you, microwaving the food can inactivate Novel Coronavirus. Microwaving can kill most of the bacteria and viruses. There is evidence that human respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus, parainfluenzavirus, pneumovirus, adenovirus and herpes simplex virus can be inactivated after 1 minute of exposure to microwave. Microwaving your food for a minute will inactivate Novel Coronavirus.

 

References:

  1. Stability and inactivation of SARS coronavirus. Rabenau HF et al. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2005 Jan;194(1-2):1-6.
  2. Silbar EC et al. Microwave sterilization: a method for home sterilization of urinary catheters. J Urol. 1989 Jan;141(1):88-90.
  3. Mishu B et al. Foodborne hepatitis A: evidence that microwaving reduces risk? J Infect Dis. 1990 Sep;162(3):655-8.
  4. Eff Siddharta A, Pfaender S, Malassa A, et al. Inactivation of HCV and HIV by microwave: a novel approach for prevention of virus transmission among people who inject drugs. Sci Rep. 2016;6:36619. Published 2016 Nov 18. doi:10.1038/srep36619
  5. Elhafi G, et al. Microwave or autoclave treatments destroy the infectivity of infectious bronchitis virus and avian pneumovirus but allow detection by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Avian Pathology (June 2004) 33(3), 303/306. https://doi.org/10.1080/0307945042000205874

Please leave your comments:



Related Articles