Covid-19 Risk of infection through food – retailers, at home

1.1. What is the risk of COVID-19 infection from food products?

Despite the large scale of the pandemic, there has been no report of transmission of COVID-19 via consumption of food to date. Therefore, as stated by the European Food Safety Authority , there is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health in relation to COVID-19. The main mode of transmission for COVID-19 is considered to be from person to person, mainly via respiratory droplets that infected people sneeze, cough or exhale.

1.2. As a food business operator, can I ask for guarantees from my suppliers with regard to CVID-19?

No. A “virus-free” certification cannot be justified as there is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health in relation to COVID-19. Any request for such guarantees is thus disproportionate and as a consequence not acceptable.

1.3. What is the risk of getting COVID-19 from food packaging?

Although according to a recent study 2 the causal agent of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) was shown to persist for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to several days on hard surfaces such as steel and plastics in experimental settings (e.g. controlled relative humidity and temperature), there is no evidence that contaminated packages, which have been exposed to different environmental conditions and temperatures, transmit the infection.

Nonetheless, to address concerns that virus present on the skin might be able to transfer to the respiratory system (for example by touching the face), persons handling packaging, including consumers, should adhere to the guidance of public health authorities regarding good hygiene practices, including regular and effective hand-washing.

Crisis management in food, animals and plants Food hygiene COVID-19 and food safety

photo MaP