Covid-19 infected frozen food can cause virus outbreaks: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 23, 2020

File Photo of a staff member lifting pork slice at a supermarket.   -  Reuters

According to a new study, Covid-19 infected frozen food can cause the outbreaks as the virus doesn’t get killed in freezing temperatures, Telegraph UK reported.

The researchers induced the virus in pieces of salmon, chicken, and pork. The infected meat was then stored in cool temperatures. The researchers also kept the food in the storage condition which is used during the supply of frozen food to different countries - between 4C, which is standard refrigeration temperature, and minus 20C, which is standard freezing temperature.

The researchers found that the virus was still present in the food after 21 days.

This comes after China reported virus strains in the frozen food imported from Brazil.

The study stated: “An explanation is required for the re-emergence of Covid-19 outbreaks in regions with apparent local eradication.”

“Recent outbreaks have emerged in Vietnam, New Zealand, and parts of China where there had been no cases for some month,” the authors added. “Importation of contaminated food and food packaging is a feasible source for such outbreaks and a source of clusters within existing outbreaks,” they noted.

According to the researchers, the transmission via contaminated food is not a major infection route of the virus. The potential for the movement of contaminated items to a region with no Covid-19 and initiate an outbreak is an important hypothesis. They believe that an infected food handler has the potential to become an index case of a new outbreak.

“The international food market is massive and even a very unlikely event could be expected to occur from time to time.”

Published on August 23, 2020

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