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Can you catch COVID-19 from food?

CLAIM: COVID-19 is being spread through food.

VERY UNLIKELY. There are no reports to date of people catching the novel coronavirus from eating food or handling food packaging.

There is no evidence that you can catch COVID-19 from eating food that may have the novel coronavirus on it.

Studies show that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread most commonly through coughs and sneezes and person-to-person contact. There is no evidence that it is spread through ingesting food.

  • There is currently no evidence that anyone has caught COVID-19 through eating fruits and vegetables, dairy products, or prepared or packaged food.
  • While some animals can catch the novel coronavirus, there is no evidence that eating meat from an infected animal can give you COVID-19.

Prevent COVID-19 from spreading by washing your hands frequently, including before and after touching food.

It is always a good practice to wash your hands before handling and eating food.

  • COVID-19 spreads mainly through tiny droplets that form when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. If enough of these droplets contain viable viruses and they get into your mouth, nose, or eyes, you can get infected.
  • It is possible for these droplets to get on food—for example, if someone sneezes on an item at the grocery store. If you touch the item soon afterward and then touch your face, you could get infected. However, there is no evidence that people have gotten the virus this way.
  • Viruses cannot grow or multiply on food or surfaces. When a droplet lands on something, the virus start to break apart. The coronavirus stays viable for different lengths of time on different types of surfaces.
  • Washing your hands properly and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces reduce the opportunities for viruses to spread between people and surfaces.

Other kinds of illnesses can be transmitted in food. Prevent them by handling food safely.

Protect your health by following standard food safety practices to properly clean, separate, cook, and chill your food. These practices prevent foodborne illnesses caused by germs like Salmonella. They will also remove any coronaviruses that might be present.

  • Proper cooking techniques and temperatures destroy germs, including coronaviruses if they were present before cooking. There is no evidence that any special food preparation measures are needed to get rid of any coronaviruses that might be on food.
  • Health organizations recommend using normal methods for washing raw fruits and vegetables to remove all germs, including the novel coronavirus. Using bleach or soap on these foods is not recommended.
Published on: May 5, 2020