Do not fear transmission through food: the World Health Organization wanted to be reassuring Thursday after China announced that it had discovered the coronavirus at the origin of the Covid-19 disease on imported food.
“We don’t think the coronavirus can be transmitted through food … If we understood correctly, China looks for the virus on packaging, has tested hundreds of thousands of them and found very few, less than one ten positive, ”explained scientist Maria Van Kerkhove.
However, “we know that it can remain on surfaces for a while” and “we have given instructions, with the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Editor’s note), on food handling and work “in the food sector so that workers are safe in their working environment,” added the head of the emerging diseases unit at the WHO.
“People shouldn’t be afraid of food, or food packaging or the food chain,” said Michael Ryan, director of health emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Our food, regarding the Covid, is safe”; “there is no evidence that food or food chains participate in the transmission of the virus”, he said, recalling the usual precautions (“washing hands”, “cooking food” ).
“We must not” inflate this type of information “, he still pleaded.” People are already afraid enough of the pandemic “.
Chinese authorities announced Thursday that they had found a trace of the virus, during a routine check, on samples of frozen chicken wings taken on Tuesday but also on packaging of shrimp from Ecuador.