As the cases of coronavirus continue to increase across the world with over 85 cases reported in India so far, there is some level of confusion if the virus can be transmitted through food too.

The good answer: No

Leading health and food safety organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), and European Food Safety Authority (efsa) have published statements dispelling doubts on the matter. The agencies haven't found any reports of transmission through food.

Coronavirus is not foodborne

There is no evidence as of yet of coronavirus being transmitted through food.

It mainly spreads via respiratory droplets. It spreads when somebody infected with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or exhales the virus into the environment and the droplets are taken in by any healthy person either through inhaling or touching the droplets and then wiping his/her nouse, mouth or eyes.


So far no such cases have been found.

Do I need to sanitize vegetables and fruits with soap?:

Experts say that there is no need to use soap or any disinfectant on food as it can be harmful. It may cause skin and eye irritation. Detergents are not meant to be used for food items. Disinfectant sprays or wipes are intended for use on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Usual wash, or with little warm would be enough, as we should always do with our fruits and vegetables.  

Is it safe to eat meat safe during the outbreak:

It is safe to eat meat including chicken, mutton and fish. Just that, the consumption of sick animals or those died with the disease should not be eaten. 

The world health organization (WHO), in its report, said there is no harm in eating meat if it comes from an area where there is an outbreak.

coronavirus myths

It has, however, recommended food safety practices to be followed when cooking any sort of food. These practices include:

-Washing hands with soap and water

-Cleaning slabs and other surfaces before cutting/chopping

-Separating raw meat from other foods

-Cooking food to the appropriate temperature

What about raw food like sushi?

Health officials do not recommend you to eat anything that hasn't been cooked at optimum temperature.

What if somebody sneezed on the food:

Well, that's a risky situation given that nothing is 100% foolproof. However, if out of bad luck, you end up eating sneezed on food, chances are that the acid in your stomach would kill the virus.

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Is it safe to go to a restaurant:

Experts say that restaurant food is safe to eat. They say even if there is coronavirus in your food, chances are it would be killed by the acid in your stomach.

But what makes them ore concerned the scenario of co-dining would. Here experts say to follow precaution. Close contact with people who might have the infection could lead to further infections if they came too close.

Other things to know

As scientists and health officials are carrying on more research about the coronavirus, new information could change our understanding of the virus completely. But what we know till now is that healthy hygienic practices are crucial in containing the virus.

You may follow local health authorities and these reliable sources for more information and update on coronavirus: WHO, Fassai, and FDA.