NZFSSRC has provided commentary on a paper published in June 2022 that records survival of surrogates for SARS-COV-2 on frozen meat for up to 30 days. The paper was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The information in the paper is not specifically new, but the authors do point to the food as being a potential transmission route for Sars-CoV-2 and Covid-19. The NZFSSRC commentary indicates that despite these findings transmission via food is still unlikely to be the case.
The New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre (NZFSSRC) review of Covid-19 and Food Safety has been updated.
The report was first published in March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and has been subsequently updated in April, May, July and December 2020 and October 2021. The report considers our understanding of the virus under the headings of routes of transmission, survival on food and food packaging and international best practice for mitigation.
While new information is presented in Version 7, the overarching message from the report remains the same:
- The primary route of transmission route for human infection with SARS-COV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) is via respiratory droplets.
- There is still no evidence that food is a source or transmission route for SARS-COV-2.
- There is very low risk of spread from food products or packaging.
The best practice for reducing the risk of contamination of food products or packaging (in the opinion of the authors) continues to be managing the risk of infection amongst workers by recommended procedures (vaccination, staying home, hand washing, social distancing, PPE, etc)
New information presented in version 7 includes:
- Background on new variants of interest and concern
- Information about diagnostic procedures for SARS-CoV-2
- Information about the susceptibility of livestock to infection
- Discussion regarding the evidence that would be required to demonstrate food transmission of viruses.