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Explained: Can you get the coronavirus infection from your food?

Coronavirus (COVID-19): It cannot be ruled out the virus lies on the surface of food, especially when brought from a place that many have frequented.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 18, 2020 4:33:44 pm
Explained: Can you get the coronavirus infection from your food? It cannot be ruled out the virus lies on the surface of food, especially when brought from a place that many have frequented. (Express Photo: Pavan Khengre)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The world has been repeatedly advised about handwashing and infection from contaminated surfaces. But what about food? While there have not been any reports yet about studies on the subject, the answer is that food is probably low-risk as a source of infection. The virus spreads via droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, or when one touches one’s face with a contaminated hand.

It cannot be ruled out the virus lies on the surface of food, especially when brought from a place that many have frequented. What makes food an unlikely source of transmission, however, is that many people already take precautions against food-borne illness, such as handwashing and cleaning of utensils – measures that are being followed more vigorously than ever. Besides, when food is cooked, it reaches a temperature that the virus is unlikely to be able to withstand.

Again, viruses cannot grow in food, although they can survive for some time. Besides, even if it is swallowed, some experts have been quoted as saying that a virus such as this one is unlikely to be able to survive in the acidic environment of the stomach.

Pandemic or no pandemic, it makes sense to follow basic hygiene with food:

* Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables

* Wash hands after handling food packages

* Cook food for about three minutes; if the temperature is suitably high, the virus is unlikely to survive

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