Food and Its Packaging Are Highly Unlikely to Transmit Covid, Top U.S. Food and Health Officials Say

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • U.S. and international health experts again conclude that there is no evidence of transmission of the coronavirus via food or food packaging.
  • Some scientific studies have identified Covid-19 particles on food packaging.
  • Most of that research is finding the genetic fingerprint of the virus, not live virus that can result in human infection.

It's been a little more than a year into the global Covid-19 pandemic and there's still "no credible evidence" that people can catch the virus from food or food packaging, top U.S. food and health officials said Thursday.

While there have been some scientific studies that have identified Covid-19 particles on food packaging, most of that research is finding the genetic fingerprint of the virus, not live virus that can result in human infection, according to a joint press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Transmission of the virus via food or food packaging is highly unlikely because the amount of virus particles that a person could theoretically pick up by touching a contaminated surface isn't enough to generate an infection via oral inhalation.

Health experts around the world have reached similar conclusions, the officials said, noting that international scientists are constantly learning more about the virus.

"Despite the billions of meals and food packages handled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to date there has not been any evidence that food, food packaging or food handling is a source or important transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 resulting in COVID-19," said a recent opinion from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods.

More than 110 million people around the world have tested positive for the coronavirus. There are several ways to transmit and contract the virus, but global health experts agree that Friday night's takeout isn't likely to be one of them.

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