We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.
CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.
14. Is there a risk of contracting COVID-19 if I touch a surface that was potentially contaminated?
In general, coronaviruses have poor survivability on surfaces, and are generally thought to be spread by respiratory droplets left behind after someone coughs or sneezes.
For COVID-19, researchers are actively investigating to learn more about the ways that COVID-19 is transmitted.
In the meantime, the best way to prevent respiratory and other illnesses is to:
avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth;
consistently use good hand hygiene measures, which include frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
maintain good respiratory etiquette, such as covering your mouth and nose with your arm or sleeve when coughing and sneezing, disposing of any used tissues as soon as possible, and following with handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers where soap and water are not available;
regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently such as toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
There has been no report of transmission of the COVID-19 via food and therefore there is no evidence that food items imported into the European Union in accordance with the applicable animal and public health regulations governing imports from China pose a risk for the health of EU citizens in relation to COVID-19. The main mode of transmission is from one person to another
Can the virus be transmitted through food?
Previous experience with outbreaks of illness due to MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and other respiratory viruses (e.g. avian influenza) suggest that novel coronavirus may have been transmitted from animals to humans.
Transmission through food is unlikely and there is no evidence of this occurring with novel coronavirus to date, however investigations to identify the source of the outbreak, the extent of spread of the infection, and mode(s) of transmission are continuing.
Can the virus be passed on through food?
Experience with SARS and MERS suggest that people are not infected with the virus through food. So, it is unlikely the virus is passed on through food and there is no evidence yet of this happening with COVID-19 (coronavirus) to date.
Coronaviruses need a host (animal or human) to grow in and cannot grow in food. Thorough cooking is expected to kill the virus because we know that a heat treatment of at least 30min at 60ºC is effective with SARS.