August 20, 2020

AFFI confirms COVID-19 not transmitted by frozen food

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) reaffirms the safety of frozen foods after Chinese officials reported frozen proteins tested positive for coronavirus.

“The overwhelming scientific consensus is that SARS-CoV-2, unlike norovirus and hepatitis A, is not transmitted by the consumption of potentially contaminated foods. The virus is unlikely to be in food, but even if it were, SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by respiratory, not gastrointestinal routes,” said former NoroCORE Scientific Director and top food virologist Lee-Ann Jaykus. “While we do freeze viruses to store them, there is no science that points to the link between surface contamination of food and the contraction of COVID-19.”

In addition, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence for the spread of SARS-CoV-2 through consumption of food or food packaging, and no known cases of foodborne COVID-19.

AFFI also reaffirms the following:

  • The U.S. food supply remains among the safest in the world.
  • Surfaces can become contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 by contact with an infected person. To counteract this possibility, a two-pronged control approach is used: frequent and proper hand washing, and surface disinfection. These measures are recommended by the CDC and remain important steps to prevent exposure.
  • The frozen food industry’s top priority today and every day is food safety. As a preventative measure, frozen food companies are increasing the rigor of their sanitation and hygiene practices and instituting many other strategies to prevent disease transmission amongst their essential workforce. These measures are beyond what is required by law or regulatory guidance during this pandemic.

— American Frozen Food Institute

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