No evidence that coronavirus can spread through salmon or other food, packaging: SFA

The WHO has also said that coronaviruses cannot multiply in food. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - There is currently no evidence that the virus causing Covid-19 can spread through food, food packaging or equipment, but the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is closely monitoring developments in this area.

A spokesman from the agency said this on Monday night (June 15) in response to queries from The Straits Times, following news last week that traces of the coronavirus had reportedly been detected on cutting boards used for slicing salmon at a market in Beijing.

The SFA spokesman said that based on current knowledge in the scientific community and public health authorities worldwide, there is no evidence that the virus that causes Covid-19 will be transmitted to humans via food or food packaging and equipment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that as of April 7, there was no evidence of viruses causing respiratory illnesses like Covid-19 being transmitted via food or food packaging.

"Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply," the global health body said in a document on the link between Covid-19 and food safety published on its website.

The WHO added that the primary transmission route of the virus is through person-to-person contact and through direct contact with respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

"It is imperative for the food industry to reinforce personal hygiene measures and provide refresher training on food hygiene principles to eliminate or reduce the risk of food surfaces and food packaging materials becoming contaminated with the virus from food workers," it said.

The SFA spokesman also reiterated the importance of good public and personal hygiene.

Such practices include ensuring food is cooked properly before consumption, not sharing food or drinks with others, and not engaging in any food handling or preparation if one is feeling unwell, she said.

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People should also seek medical attention promptly and stay home if unwell, wash their hands with soap and water before eating and after visiting the bathroom, and avoid touching their faces.

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