Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Stores are encouraging consumers to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness.
Dr. Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist, Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, North Carolina State University, NC State Extension, states there is no indication that food packaging material has a significant connection to virus transmission. If concerned, handling of food packaging can be followed with hand washing and/or using hand sanitizer. Dr. Chapman shares more insights on coronavirus and food packaging, and ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The information provided below is from the USDA website. For more information visit https://www.fsis.usda.gov.
Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness. You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four steps of the Food Safe Families campaign to keep food safe:
Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 ºC) as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
Ground meats: Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F (71.1 ºC) as measured with a food thermometer.
Poultry: Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer.
Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing.