There’s no denying that the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus has changed the way we live our lives. It has also had quite a dramatic impact on the food industry, with food handlers having to adjust the way they do their job to keep everyone safe.
But a question that’s on many people’s minds is, can coronavirus live on food? There isn’t a simple yes and no answer, but we’ll attempt to answer that question for you below.
How COVID-19 Spreads
To determine if this coronavirus can live on food, it’s helpful to understand how it spreads in the first place. It clearly has no problem doing so, given that there are tens of millions of cases globally.
According to experts, the virus is mainly spread through respiratory droplets. If someone has the virus and proceeds to sneeze, cough, or talk, and you inhale their droplets, you can catch coronavirus.
Because those same respiratory droplets can land on surfaces, there have been cases of transmission from surfaces to people. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that this risk is very low.
The coronavirus needs living host cells to survive and thrive. They can’t multiply on (or inside) food, unlike fungi and bacteria. However, some pre-print research stated that the virus can survive for weeks on frozen and refrigerated meats.
So, Can Coronavirus Live On Food?
According to the CDC, there is no evidence to suggest that food can spread the coronavirus. This includes food you cook yourself or handle and consume from drive-throughs, takeout establishments, and restaurants.
There have also been no cases of COVID-19 identified by touching food, shopping bags, or packaging. This may give you peace of mind if you are concerned about catching the virus from food packaging or products you purchase from the supermarket.
There are cases of food workers getting COVID-19, but the CDC states that there is no evidence that the virus spread to consumers from food that these workers handled. This may be, in part, due to safe food handling practices like handwashing.
Speaking of handwashing – how you prepare, eat, and store food may make a world of difference to your health, regardless of a COVID-19 risk. We’ll cover this in more detail below.
Food Safety Practices
When you take a Texas food handlers permit course online, you learn all about the different important food safety practices for handling food during and after preparation.
While there isn’t any evidence to suggest that COVID-19 spreads from food to people, you can be at risk of foodborne illnesses. To prevent them, always cook food to their recommended internal temperature and practice good hygiene.
You also don’t have to worry about the water you’re using to clean your dishes causing COVID-19. While it can be identified in wastewater, the treatment process makes the water safe to drink and use for cleaning.
Even before COVID-19 hit the world stage, surface cleaning was an essential part of food and customer safety. Now, more than ever before, it’s vital to use disinfectant products to clean kitchen counters and high-touch surfaces.
Always read the instructions before use, and refrain from using disinfectant products on food or their packaging.
How to Handle Food in the COVID-19 Age
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that how we manage, prepare, cook, and store our food matters. Pathogens, bacteria, and viruses are real and can make us sick.
While we’ve established that there is no evidence to suggest we can get COVID-19 from food, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful with food handling.
You should always refrigerate perishables within two hours of buying them and wash any reusable bags if they have been impacted by food within them.
Do not use any washing products on fresh produce. Instead, rinse fresh vegetables and fruit under cold, running tap water. Even though some people use lemon juice, line juice, and vinegar to remove germs from produce, this has not been proven effective.
Know How to Keep You and Others Safe with a Food Handlers Certificate
COVID-19 has caused a lot of concern around food handling. If you want to know how to keep your customers and yourself as safe as possible from all germs, not just coronavirus, a food handlers’ certificate may be able to help.
This online course covers basic food handling, temperature control, and hygiene practices that every food handler can benefit from learning. A 100% online course to obtain your food handlers permit is available from TABC Pronto for $6.99.