Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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Frozen Food Packages in China Keep Testing Positive For Coronavirus. Here's Why Health Experts Aren't Worried

11/3/20


https://time.com/5899803/coronavirus-frozen-food-china/


They’ve reportedly found it on packages of Ecuadorian shrimp, squid from Russia and Norwegian seafood.

Since June, Chinese health authorities have been detecting genetic traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on refrigerated and frozen foods from around the world. Then, on Oct. 17, the Chinese Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced it had isolated active SARS-CoV-2 on packs of imported fish. The agency says this world-first discovery, made while tracing a recent outbreak in Qingdao to two dock workers, shows contaminated food packaging can cause infections.

While it remains unclear if the dock workers actually contracted COVID-19 from the seafood they were handling, the government is stepping up precautions. Qingdao will now scrutinize all incoming frozen food (after testing all 9 million residents), while the Beijing city government has urged companies to avoid importing frozen foods from countries badly hit by the pandemic — though it did not specify which ones.

Concern over possible transmission through imported food is running high in China, which has nearly stamped out domestic transmission of the pathogen. It is one of the only countries to impose wide-scale coronavirus inspections on incoming shipments.

Elsewhere, health authorities have been more skeptical. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says there is “no evidence” to suggest food is associated with spreading the virus, while the World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s not necessary to disinfect food packaging. New Zealand meanwhile ruled out a theory that an August outbreak was connected to a cold-chain storage facility.

China’s CDC says 670,000 samples from frozen foods and packaging had been tested for COVID-19 as of Sept. 15. Reportedly, only 22 of them were positive (and prior to the Qingdao case it was not clear if any of the detected coronavirus was still active when thawed).

In recent months, the world’s second-largest economy has nevertheless temporarily suspended a slew of fish and meat imports, disrupting trade with several countries and reportedly causing shipping bottlenecks.

Several health experts have disputed the necessity of such precautions. While cold temperatures can preserve coronaviruses, they remain doubtful food and its packaging pose a major threat.

“It’s theoretically plausible, but the risk is much lower than the other more established routes of transmission for this virus,” says Siddharth Sridhar, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

What has China found?

China stepped up monitoring of imported foods after a second wave in June that infected 335 people was linked to Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi market. The outbreak, which broke the capital’s run of 56 consecutive days without any new local infections, prompted a partial shutdown of the city and a probe into the origins.

Authorities suggested supplies of salmon from Europe may have been the source after the virus was reportedly discovered on a filleting board. This led to a temporary freeze on salmon imports, with repercussions for exporters in Chile, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Australia and Canada. Although others have disputed that the fish were to blame, investigators in China have since doubled down on the potential culprit.

Also in June, China suspended poultry imports from a Tyson Foods plant in the U.S. amid concerns about an outbreak at the facility. And in Tianjin, a major port, authorities reportedly began requiring coronavirus tests for all meat and seafood containers.

At the time, Li Fengqin, the head of the lab at China’s National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment told reporters that the possibility of contracting the virus from frozen food and packages could not be ruled out.

Other cities jumped into action. In August, Shenzhen—the booming technology hub that borders Hong Kong—set up a central warehouse where all imported food is screened before being sold.

As of early Sept., China had temporarily banned imports from 56 companies in 19 countries, including from the U.S., Indonesia and Europe.

Cui He, president of the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance, acknowledged that it was impractical to institute a total ban on imported frozen food. “More than 100 countries worldwide export frozen seafood to China,” he told state-run media.

Exporters of meat, dairy and other food items have instead been asked to sign documents declaring their products have not been contaminated by coronavirus.

Such scrutiny has drawn flak from industry bodies. In September, the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods called restrictions around food imports “not scientifically justified.”

Getting COVID-19 from food or packaging isn’t easy

Getting COVID-19 from food packaging is no easy matter and, while possible, depends on a complex series of events, health experts told TIME.

First, an infected person would have to cough or sneeze on packaging. Then, while the virus was still active, someone else would need to touch that packaging before touching their own eyes, nose or mouth.

“Everything we have come to know about this virus indicates airborne person-to-person is the mode of transmission,” says Emanuel Goldman, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University.

Researchers are still studying how long the virus can remain active on food surfaces in varying temperatures. According to the WHO, coronaviruses in general are very stable in a frozen state, and studies have even shown survival for up to two years at -4°F.

But even if food or packaging does test positive, that doesn’t mean it’s infectious.

“The most commonly used tests can tell us that there has been some viral components on the package, [but] we do not know the state of the virus,” says Sarah Cahill, a senior food standards officer at Codex Alimentarius Commission, the body responsible for developing food standards under the WHO. “Was it still intact? Was it still viable? Was it still capable of causing infection?”

How to stay safe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is aware of China screening incoming produce, seafood and meat for COVID-19. But in a statement emailed to TIME, a spokesperson says, “Currently there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.”

Sridhar of HKU does not recommend widespread screening of imported food items, which he likens to “looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Dale Fisher, a professor of medicine at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, says China’s concern stems from a different approach to the virus than much of the rest of the world is taking.

He says China has “chosen to monitor this because they have zero tolerance for cases. If you’re not aiming for zero, then there’s a different risk tolerance.”

In any case, regular consumers should not be worried, he says.

“By the time food gets to a consumer it has been stacked and moved around enough to see the virus very diluted and unlikely at an adequate dose to cause infection.”

To avoid getting coronavirus, health experts continue to advise people to wash their hands with soap and water and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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China Finds Coronavirus on Frozen Beef, Tripe From Various Countries

11/14/20


https://www.usnews.com/news/world/artic ... -countries


BEIJING (Reuters) - The eastern Chinese city of Jinan said it has found the new coronavirus on beef and tripe, and on packaging for these products, from Brazil, New Zealand and Bolivia as China ramps up testing on frozen foods.

The importers were a unit of Guotai International Group <002091.SZ> and Shanghai Zhongli Development Trade, the Jinan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website late on Saturday.

The entry ports were Shanghai's Yangshan port customs and outer port customs, it said. The statement from the city in Shandong province did not name the companies that shipped the products.

More than 7,500 people who may have had contact with the contaminated products and other related personnel have tested negative for the virus that causes COVID-19, it said.

Chinese authorities last week found the coronavirus on the packaging of Saudi shrimp in Lanzhou city, Brazilian beef in Wuhan city and Argentinian beef in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces.

China is the world's top beef buyer and Brazil and Argentina its largest suppliers.

Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province in central China, detected coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen pork from Argentina on Friday, local authorities said in a statement late on Saturday on the social media platform WeChat.

The samples that tested positive came from a 24-tonne batch of frozen pork that was sent from a cold storage facility in Qingdao port to a warehouse for a market in Zhengzhou city.

The batch was found to be contaminated during a screening before the goods could enter the warehouse, the government said.

The World Health Organization says the risk of catching COVID-19 from frozen food is low, but China has repeatedly sounded alarms after detecting the virus on imported food products, triggering disruptive import bans.
trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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Pork consumption is not likely to cause COVID-19 infection

11/20/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... ction.aspx


According to the current state of knowledge, there are no cases that have shown evidence of humans being infected with the novel coronavirus via the consumption of contaminated food.

Nor has any reliable evidence being presented to date concerning transmission of the virus via contact with contaminated objects or contaminated surfaces - such as packaging - which would have led to subsequent infections in humans.

Imported refrigerated or frozen food and its packaging that has been produced under unhygienic conditions in regions affected by SARS-CoV-2 could contain the virus. Accordingly, the basic rules for day-to-day hygiene and for the preparation of food should always be followed.

The BfR is not aware of any reports of SARS-CoV-2 infections resulting from the consumption of meat or contact with contaminated meat products.

According to the current state of knowledge, farm animals used for the production of meat cannot become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and are therefore unable to transmit the virus to humans via this pathway.

Contamination of meat and meat products or its packaging with coronavirus could occur during the slaughtering, butchering, processing and packaging processes, however.

According to the reports in the Chinese media, traces of SARS-CoV-2 were found on the packaging of pork knuckles imported from Germany and on a door knob in a cold store.

It is unclear whether the detected traces of virus are derived from an infectious virus or whether the virus had already been inactivated by storage or transportation.

Nor do the reports state whether the traces of the virus were already present on the imported product or had been transferred to the packaging and door knob by the infected worker.

Generally, coronaviruses can potentially be transferred from an infected person to meat products if hygiene rules are not followed, for example, by sneezing or coughing onto these products, or through contaminated hands. The same applies to surface contaminations (on packaging, for example).

However, the hygiene rules and safety precautions that are commonly observed during the slaughtering, processing and packaging of meat minimize the risk of contamination with pathogens, which also applies for SARS-CoV-2.

Coronaviruses cannot multiply in or on food; they require a living animal or human host to do this. Transmis-sion of the virus to another person via a contact infection appears possible only if this person touches a contaminated item of food or packaging and then transfers the virus to the mucous membranes of their nose or eyes with the hands.

According to the current state of knowledge, the oral/alimentary route of transmission through the consumption of meat is not relevant for the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

To protect yourself from viral infection, always observe the general rules for everyday hy-giene: ensure that you wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face with your hands - especially while preparing food.

Furthermore, meat and poultry in general should be heated sufficiently and evenly before consumption, until the meat juice trickling out is clear and the meat is a whitish (poultry), greyish-pink (pork) or greyish-brown (beef) colour. More information on hygiene when handling food can be found.
trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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Food products are potential SARS-CoV-2 carriers, study finds

11/20/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... finds.aspx


The various transmission modes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have not been completely determined.

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), spreads primarily through respiratory droplets. In some cases, airborne transmission is possible.

Apart from these, some scientists believe that the virus can spread through food products.

A team of scientists at the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and the Food Safety Research Center in Iran has emphasized the risk of various staple food products, including meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and ready-to-eat foods, as potential carriers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

COVID-19 and food products

The study, which appeared in the journal Food Control, investigates the risk of various staple food products as potential vehicles for SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Early in the pandemic, scientists discovered that the virus also affects the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach, small intestine, and colon. Hence, the fecal-oral route for SARS-CoV-2 transmission is possible.

People with gastric problems such as atrophic gastritis and gastric intestinal metaplasia may be vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection.

The researchers believe that adding precautionary measures to prevent contamination by infectious people to established food products known to carry SARS-CoV-2 transmission could help mitigate the virus's spread. Health experts have also urged people to practice respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, regular hand hygiene, and wearing masks to prevent infection.

Handling food products

Though some studies have shown that contracting the virus through food or food packaging carries a low risk, it is still essential to take precautionary measures.

SARS-CoV-2 has high stability in certain environmental conditions – particularly cold, dry weather – and has been observed to survive on surfaces (or fomites) for as long as 72 hours.

Scientists have also found viral particles in stool samples from COVID-19 patients. Hence, the fecal-oral route should be thoroughly investigated as a potential viral mode of transmission during this pandemic too.

Evidence also reveals that infection can transpire in pigs and rabbits. Plus, food handlers can contaminate various food, including bread, dairy products, meat, fruits, vegetables, and even packaging materials.

Food processing approach


The team also noted that food processing companies, specifically, ready-to-eat and frozen products like frozen yogurt and ice cream, should be cautious about cross-contamination of these products by SARS-CoV-2. These products could not be processed at home, heightening the risk of infection if the food handler harbors the virus.

"Therefore, these statistics profoundly highlight the great impact of food handlers on the occurrence of food-associated outbreaks. Besides, the airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2 is also possible, particularly in indoor environments," the team explained.

Further, people must continue to adhere to hygiene instructions by the World Health Organization (WHO) while grocery shopping. The WHO recommends that consumers immediately dispose of the packaging materials and avoid eating raw foods, like meat products.

"Accordingly, food may act as a potential vehicle of SARS-CoV-2 due to whether carry-through or carry-over contaminations. Considering carry-over, SARS-CoV-2 spread from personnel to food products or food surfaces is feasible," the researchers wrote in the paper.

Cooking food should be done at high temperatures, which is more than 60˚C for at least 30 min. The team also proposed the daily ingestion of food rich in probiotics and bioactive components.

Meanwhile, the WHO also recommends washing food items, like fruits and vegetables, with soap and water before consumption, to remove potential pathogens. Though the health agency believes it is unnecessary to disinfect food packaging items, it is essential to wash the hands after handling them.

Global health crisis

Determining and fully understanding the possible ways of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is crucial amid the ongoing pandemic. To date, there have over 57.1 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed and more than 1.36 million people have died.

The United States remains the nation with the highest number of infections, topping 11.74 million cases. India, Brazil, and France also report surging infections, with 9 million, 5.98 million, and 2.13 million cases, respectively.
trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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What safety measures have food suppliers implemented in response to COVID-19?

12/9/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... ID-19.aspx


Researchers surveyed small to large food companies in 16 countries on food safety attributes and emergency plans. They found that less than half the food companies had documented putting emergency plans in place for pandemics and public health crises.

One of the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pathogen, is the ability to obtain safe and sufficient food. Apart from the severe health and economic impacts of the pandemic, the food sector also has been impacted, and has been determining ways of ensuring food security.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed documents that provide guidance on supporting the food supply chain, addressing the needs of food companies and for national food safety systems. According to the European Food Safety Authority, there is a low risk of transmission of the coronavirus from food, as the virus does not survive for long on food packaging.

Although there is some evidence suggesting the virus can be transmitted by contaminated meat or from food contact surfaces, human to human contact remains the primary transmission mode. However, this has an indirect effect on the food business.

Food safety management systems (FSMS) have been evolving in the last two decades, ensuring good hygiene practices and maintaining robust hazard analysis systems. Food legislation generally specifies that food companies are responsible for hazard analysis and critical control point systems, and governmental inspection is responsible for evaluating how effective they are.

Surveying food companies response to COVID-19

In a new study, published in the journal Food Control, a team of international researchers report on a survey assessing the response of food companies to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team surveyed 825 food companies involved in food production, processing, storage/distribution, retail and wholesale of food in 16 countries between May and August 2020. They developed a questionnaire to analyze how the pandemic has affected food safety in the companies. Different sections in the questionnaire reflected the companies’ food safety methods, how they have tried to mitigate the pandemic's impact, how they identify food safety systems in the food supply chain affected by COVID-19, and their emergency preparedness plans. The data obtained were analyzed, classified into clusters, and scores were then generated.

Less than half of the companies surveyed were small, with less than 50 employees. About half the companies were involved in foods of animal origin, 30% operating in foods of plant origin, and the rest were food service companies.

Survey results

The survey results indicated that the companies strongly agreed that they have implemented more stringent hygiene procedures during the pandemic, including purchasing more personal protective equipment for staff.

Cluster analysis revealed three clusters based on the level of FSMS in place. About 40% of the companies, mainly small in size, had only basic systems in place. About 54% of companies had no FSMS in place. Medium-sized and big companies, about 39%, had certified systems in place.

Using a best-worst methodology, the authors identified the most critical COVID-19 attributes that the companies considered. The most important attributed turned out to be “staff awareness” followed by “hygiene of the object,” both emphasized by WHO as top priorities.

“Temperature checking of workers” and “health protocols from WHO/government” attributes ranked low in importance. This is likely because of increased staff awareness during the pandemic, with sick workers not coming into work.

Although the pandemic has raised the importance of using personal protective equipment, the survey results indicated “use of mask and gloves” had no importance, probably because of the use of these even before the pandemic. In the food supply chain, food safety systems in the retail section were the most affected while storage was the least affected.

The top emergency preparedness plans the companies had been for water contamination, contamination of ingredients or packaging, and response to pandemic and health issues. Analysis of the survey data indicated that emergency plans could be separated into emergencies associated with food and/or the environment and emergencies associated with disruptions that were not man-made or preventable.

Big and small companies were contrasting in their emergency preparedness practices. Smaller companies with less human, financial, and technical resources found it difficult to implement food safety requirements compared to medium- and large-sized companies.

Thus, companies with FSMS in place already implemented stricter measures to combat virus transmission in their operations. However, the study's limitation was it is based only on the companies’ perceptions of their management systems for food safety during the pandemic and is not supplemented with on-site independent assessments. Thus, efforts in future should look at the effect of COVID-19 on food fraud and food security.

Journal reference:


Djekic, I. et al. (2020) Covid-19 pandemic effects on food safety - multi-country survey study. Food Control. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107800, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... via%3Dihub
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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China reports coronavirus found on ice cream

1/18/21


https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/01/18/ ... ice-cream/

BEIJING — The coronavirus was found on ice cream produced in eastern China, prompting a recall of cartons from the same batch, according to the government.

The Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd. in Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, was sealed and its employees were being tested for the coronavirus, a city government statement said. There was no indication anyone had contracted the virus from the ice cream.

Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold, the government said. It said 390 sold in Tianjin were being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sales to their areas.

The ingredients included New Zealand milk powder and whey powder from Ukraine, the government said.

The Chinese government has suggested the disease, first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, came from abroad and has highlighted what it says are discoveries of the coronavirus on imported fish and other food, though foreign scientists are skeptical.

Ice cream from China contaminated with coronavirus: report
Officials believe the coronavirus was able to survive in the ice cream due to the cold temperature.


1/16/21


https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinese-i ... d-covid-19


Three samples of ice cream from a Chinese company tested positive for COVID-19, and thousands of boxes of the dessert have been confiscated as a result.

The contaminated ice cream caused Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company to dump 2,089 boxes of the product, although officials believe more than double that amount -- 4,836 boxes -- has been contaminated, Sky News reported.

More than half the total boxes had already been distributed for sale when the positive tests were discovered. Market regulation authorities in other provinces outside Tianjin where the ice cream was sent were notified of the issue, and customers who may have purchased the product are being told to report their health to community officials.

According to the report, 1,662 employees were tested at the company Thursday and were quarantining.

Officials believe the coronavirus was able to survive in the ice cream due to the cold temperature and was likely transferred from a person who had the disease.

Dr. Stephen Griffin, a virologist based at the University of Leeds, told Sky News the instance of contamination was likely a "one-off" and not indicative of a broader issue with the plant itself.

"Of course, any level of contamination is not acceptable and always a cause for concern, but the chances are that this is the result of an issue with the production plant and potentially down to hygiene at the factory," Griffin said.

Initial epidemiological investigations revealed Tianjin produced the batch of ice cream using raw materials including milk powder imported from New Zealand and whey powder imported from Ukraine.
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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Can Frozen Food Spread The Coronavirus?

2/12/21





At a news conference this week, the World Health Organization made a surprising statement: The coronavirus could possibly transmit on frozen packages of food.

"We know that the virus can persist and survive in conditions that are found in these cold and frozen environments," says Peter Ben Embarek, the food scientist who led the World Health Organization team that traveled to China to investigate the origin of the pandemic. "But we don't really understand if the virus can then transmit to humans."

Embarek went on to say that scientists need to investigate further this possible route of transmission – and that frozen meat, perhaps frozen wild meat, could have sparked an early outbreak of COVID-19 last year at the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan.

"There were definitely frozen meat and seafood sheltered at Huanan, some of it probably farmed wildlife," says disease ecologist Peter Daszak, who was also part of WHO's team in China. "But there was a lot else going on at the market, as well." For example, there were also stalls selling fresh seafood and wildlife. And, Daszak says, the outbreak could have started from an infected vendor or customer. "We are keeping every option on the table and trying to keep an open mind about it."

Chinese scientists have linked several outbreaks in the country last year to frozen packages of meat or seafood. In particular, an outbreak in Beijing last summer centered around a massive wholesale market, called Xinfadi Market.

Scientists found live coronavirus on a package of frozen cod fish there. They also found signs of the virus inside the packaging, Daszak says, suggesting the package became contaminated where the frozen food was packed.

"It was a good bit of detective work," Daszak says.

For the outbreak in the Xinfadi Market, Daszak says, people appear to have caught the virus from a surface. "We don't know if that means the virus was introduced that way. And we don't know if that happened at Huanan seafood market. We're still looking at that."

These results – and the statements from WHO — were a bit surprising, because they go against what scientists have been telling us for a few months now. That you catch COVID-19 primarily through the air, not surfaces. And you don't need to wipe down food packages.

So what gives?

First off, this Xinfadi Market is not your local Trader Joe's, says microbiologist Emanuel Goldman at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Xinfadi is enormous. It's 12 million square feet — larger than 200 football fields. Inside, workers receive international shipments of large pallets of frozen meat and seafood which they ship to stores across Beijing. The fish isn't in in individually-packaged boxes, like you find in a frozen food section of the grocery store. A giant frozen slab is a very different surface and has very different conditions than a small package of fish sticks. The slab will stay colder for longer, and the virus could survive on it – or in it — longer.

In other words, Goldman says, the environment inside this warehouse is very different from one that a regular consumer would ever find themselves in. So far, only warehouse workers and dock workers, receiving international packages, have been possibly infected through these frozen packages.

"China hasn't had any reports of consumers, of even suspicion, of consumers being infected by this route," Goldman says.

Second, Goldman says, even under these very specific conditions — with industrial-scale shipping — transmission through this route is incredibly rare.

"It's so rare as to be of negligible importance in the real world to most people," he adds. In fact, he says, you'd be more likely to win the lottery than get infected through a frozen package of food. "And it would have to be one of those lotteries with very few winners, like the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes."

"It's very unlikely that you would get the virus from food," he adds. "SARS-Cov-2 is a virus you get by breathing."

So the original advice stands, Goldman says. You don't need to wipe down your frozen pizza box or wear gloves when you go to buy frozen fish sticks. And if you're still worried about packaging, he says, "Just wash your hands with soap and water."
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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What are the main food safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic?

2/17/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... demic.aspx


Caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the emergence of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, was followed by a rapid and worldwide spread. This virus is unique in its long incubation period, allowing asymptomatic transmission for up to two weeks before the presence of the infection is recognized.

A new paper, in the journal Microbiology research, deals with the perceived and actual delivery of food items during this period. The frequent occurrence of diarrhea in children and adults infected by SARS-CoV-2, suggests it may signify the involvement of the gut in viral transmission.

Food packaging plants and COVID-19

Many human infections have been reported to have been associated with abattoirs and meatpacking plants in America and Europe, suggesting the role played by animal meat consumption in transmission. The presence of high aerosols and high-pressure water sprays help to carry the virus much farther than it would otherwise have gone.

Workers generate respiratory droplets at a much higher intensity due to their having to speak loudly in the noisy ambiance of the meat plant. Social distancing is at a minimum due to the nature of the work. Surface contamination by emitted virus particles is also a possibility.

SARS-CoV-2 survival for hours or days on surfaces at room temperature, as well as at low and freezing temperatures, has been established. This could lead to the spread of the virus by contamination of food and food packaging.

However, both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say they do not know of any case associated with foodborne transmission, unlike earlier outbreaks such as the SARS and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

The current paper explores the zoonotic nature of the current pandemic, as well as its possible spread through the food supply chain. The researchers also examined the management of foodborne COVID-19, and possible ways to minimize contamination.

Zoonotic disease


The virus is known to originate in animals, but the exact nature of its leap across species barriers is unclear. Both earlier pathogenic coronavirus outbreaks originated in wet markets selling wild exotic animals. The current pandemic also is thought to have begun in a wildlife and seafood market in Wuhan, China.

The researchers found the possibility of useful, though partial, cross-reactive immunity due to stimulation of immune responses by several viral protein sequences and epitopes found in earlier animal coronaviruses.

This not only explains the spectrum of clinical disease in COVID-19, but could be used to develop diagnostic kits to distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory infections. It could also help with vaccine development.

Viable in the cold chain

China prohibited the import of many frozen seafood and chicken-based foods, suspecting that new cases were being imported from the food packaging and processing plants, where outbreaks were being reported.

The viability of the virus in freezing conditions for over three weeks is established. An earlier study shows multiple episodes of food contamination through the cold chain of frozen food and storage plants. The researchers successfully contaminated various meats at three temperatures: 4, −20, and −80 °C.

Similar studies on pig skin and meat showed that the stable presence of the virus for 14 days at 4 °C carries a high potential for meat-transmitted infection and virus shedding. Fresh vegetables and fruit are also shown to carry the virus for up to 24 hours. After this point, infectious virus was not found, except on cucumbers, at any time within 72 hours.

Foodborne transmission remains hypothetical

Feco-oral transmission of the virus is possible, however, since the virus tends to persist in stool samples even after respiratory samples become negative. It has been found even in patients without overt symptoms of gut infection like diarrhea. However, the absence of consistent association between the consumption of contaminated food and COVID-19 prevents the classification of this as a foodborne virus. Neither has the virus been proved to cause a primary gut infection.

On the other hand, the regular epidemiological investigations used to track outbreaks of foodborne infection have not been applied to this virus so far.

Different surfaces


The virus has been found to persist on a variety of surfaces. It remains infectious in aerosols for up to 16 hours. It can survive at room temperature and with a relative humidity of 65% for days. On plastic surfaces, it remains detectable for seven days, but is markedly reduced in titer after 8 hours on copper surfaces.

It has been detected at 1% of the original dose on the outer surface of a surgical mask on day 7. Printing paper and tissue paper failed to show the presence of infectious virus after three hours, and after two days with treated wood or cloth.

For glass and banknotes, the virus reached undetectable levels on day four. The prolonged persistence on plastic, of which much food packaging is made, raises the issue of potential food contamination, spreading to the surfaces that come in contact with such packaging.

The infectious nature of the virus falls by less than one log on plastic surfaces, by 3.5log on glass, and by 6 logs on aluminum.

Temperature stability

The virus is stable in titer for eight hours at 4 °C, with a small drop at 30 °C. It declines within nine days at all temperatures and even remains infectious in the dried state for several days, even with changes in the ambient temperature. It is highly stable in cold conditions, especially in mucus and sputum on polypropylene surfaces, at 4 °C with a relative humidity of 40%, compared to temperatures in the twenties. At ‐20 °C, coronaviruses can survive for up to two years.

Thus, the cold food chain may be an ideal vehicle for the virus, transferring it from place to place.

Preventing foodborne transmission

Reinforcing hygiene measures and providing refresher training on food hygiene principles is necessary to eliminate or reduce the risk of food becoming contaminated by the virus from food workers.”

The FDA recommends four principles: clean, separate, cook, and chill food. Social distancing is also important, among these measures aimed at preventing infection of food industry workers and customers, and maintaining robust cleanliness and sanitation in the surroundings of this industry.

Viral inactivation

Several methods may be used to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. This includes gamma rays and ultraviolet radiation, either alone or along with riboflavin, and using UVC rather than UVA. Sunlight can produce rapid inactivation, with 90% inactivation in saliva suspensions, or in culture, within seven and 14 minutes, respectively. Inactivation occurred much faster with UVB compared to darkness.

Thus, exposure rates may be quite different depending on the setting, whether outdoor or indoors.

Ozone can also be useful, reducing viral titers by more than 90% on multiple surfaces, when used at a concentration above toxic levels. Heating also denatures proteins, achieving complete inactivation with 5 minutes at 70 °C.

Safe packaging can also be accomplished using nanomaterials to create biopolymers containing virucidal compounds, chemical release nanopackaging, and packaging with nanomaterials containing viral disinfectants that generate ions toxic to the virus. Such packaging could release copper, and thus produce permanent damage to the viral spikes and envelope, among other changes.

Similar nanoparticles could be used to make personal protective equipment (PPE) more resistant to the virus, such as silver nanoclusters. The application of this antimicrobial and antiviral compound exhibited virucidal effects.

Conclusion

Despite the low possibility of foodborne transmission of COVID-19, the review shows that the cold chain used in food processing and transport can encourage viral viability for years. Novel technologies can and should be applied to protect workers and prevent food contamination. Hygiene, and the use of PPE, could be early steps in keeping food safe.

Journal reference:

Ceniti, C. et al. (2021). Food Safety Concerns in “COVID‐19 Era”. Microbiology research. https://doi.org/10.3390/microbiolres12010006, https://www.mdpi.com/2036-7481/12/1/6
trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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USDA, FDA highlight no credible evidence of COVID-19 transmission through food or food packaging

2/18/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... aging.aspx


After more than a year since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a global health emergency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to underscore that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19.

Our confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply remains steadfast. Consumers should be reassured that we continue to believe, based on our understanding of currently available reliable scientific information, and supported by overwhelming international scientific consensus, that the foods they eat and food packaging they touch are highly unlikely to spread SARS-CoV-2.

It's particularly important to note that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person, unlike foodborne or gastrointestinal viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food.

While there are relatively few reports of the virus being detected on food and packaging, most studies focus primarily on the detection of the virus' genetic fingerprint rather than evidence of transmission of virus resulting in human infection. Given that the number of virus particles that could be theoretically picked up by touching a surface would be very small and the amount needed for infection via oral inhalation would be very high, the chances of infection by touching the surface of food packaging or eating food is considered to be extremely low.

The USDA and the FDA are sharing this update based upon the best available information from scientific bodies across the globe, including a continued international consensus that the risk is exceedingly low for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans via food and food packaging.

For example, a recent opinion from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF), stated: "Despite the billions of meals and food packages handled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to date there has not been any evidence that food, food packaging or food handling is a source or important transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 resulting in COVID-19." Additional literature reviews and analyses from other countries agree.

In addition, considering the more than 100 million cases of COVID-19, we have not seen epidemiological evidence of food or food packaging as the source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to humans. Furthermore, transmission has not been attributed to food products or packaging through national and international surveillance systems. Food business operations continue to produce a steady supply of safe food following current Good Manufacturing Practices and preventive controls, focusing on good hygiene practices and keeping workers safe.

Based on the scientific information that continues to be made available over the course of the pandemic, the USDA and FDA continue to be confident in the safety of the food available to American consumers and exported to international customers.

Source:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
trader32176
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Re: Heaven help us its on our chicken wings and shrimp

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Study addresses COVID-19 pandemic concerns and guidelines for increasing food safety

2/25/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... afety.aspx


A team of researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture examined how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed food practices and safety protocols for workers in food-processing plants.

The world is currently experiencing several supply chain issues as a direct result of extensive lockdowns and impacts on essential workers' safety. However, disruption in the food supply, while catastrophic in nature, has created opportunities for the advancement of medical science, data processing, security monitoring, foodborne pathogen detection, and food safety technology,” wrote the research team.

The review “Food safety lessons learned from the COVID‐19 pandemic” was published in December in the Journal of Food Safety.

SARS-CoV-2 concerns in food-processing plants


SARS-CoV-2 can transmit in the air through infected individuals coughing, sneezing, or talking via large aerosol droplets. Because aerosol droplets can linger in the air for some time indoors, infection containment strategies are needed to avoid the risk of exposure and contamination in food-processing factories. The evaporation and inactivation of these aerosols and other droplets are not well understood and may be needed to modify conditions that decrease the risk of spread.

The risk of SARS-CoV-2 is dependent on the environmental conditions surrounding the type of food being produced. For instance, while fruits and vegetables are refrigerated during processing, this might not be the same storage plan in households.

Current research suggests that lower air temperatures enhanced coronavirus virus survival, possibly slowing reaction rates.”

The researchers say it’s important for food storage and food contact surfaces to survive in different temperatures and humidity. Some research has suggested that food storages that promote moisture removal in the air can inactivate the coronavirus.

Not all disinfectants are created equal

Hand sanitizers are a hot commodity with people during the pandemic. The EPA List N recommends creating antimicrobial products effective in inactivating a non-enveloped virus. Most sanitizer companies currently adhere to these guidelines, but chlorine-based products aren’t as effective as a disinfectant. The researchers say food-processing places should be aware of disinfectants that have been shown to reduce the risk of lingering SARS-CoV-2.

This is even more important as there is a small risk of SARS-CoV-2 staying on objects such as propylene plastic surfaces and stainless steel for up to 72 hours.

Although significant efforts have been focusing on the effectiveness of various disinfectants on HCoV, including SARS-CoV-1and SARS-CoV-2, similar information conducted associated with the food processing environment is significantly lacking and needed.”

Reducing coronavirus exposure between workers


Food-processing plants initially followed the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. Still, it was based on traditional infection prevention instead of considering the unique situation created by SARS-CoV-2. Many measures focused on creating more engineering and administrative practices, which is impractical for processing food.

As a result, many food-processing plants relied on personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize contact and potential exposure to the virus. Given the essential role in feeding society, the researchers reason that these workers should be wearing masks, although information is still limited if surgical masks are sufficient for the food sector.

However, with the knowledge on the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, it is very likely that both symptomatic and asymptomatic food handlers can transfer respiratory droplets on food items and food contact materials, by touching eyes and mucosal membranes. Therefore, wearing of appropriate PPE and social distancing is vitally important for essential workers handling food. It is important to consider identified hazards for any employee safety program to successfully perform tasks safely with low to negligible risks of infection,” wrote the researchers.

Using data to assess risk

Data science can analyze historical data to find places with the highest risk for COVID-19 infection. Doing so can prioritize areas that need more PPE and other resources.

Providing datasets to workers and customers helps keep everyone informed of current practices and relieves apprehension over contaminated products. They suggest that with more people buying their groceries online, online tools can be developed for enhanced monitoring. One idea is smart labels on food. This could watch for ambient conditions and provide information regarding potential temperature abuse and impacts on the food’s shelf-life.

In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to the security and safety of the food sector, but with the help of scientists and technologists, we can overcome these challenges and succeed in providing safe, nutritious, and sufficient food to the global population.”

Journal reference:

Lacombe A, et al. Food safety lessons learned from the COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Food Safety, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jfs.12878, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jfs.12878
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