No evidence Covid-19 virus can spread through food, packaging: SFA

This article is more than 12 months old

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

A spokesman for the agency said this 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 the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing.

The SFA spokesman said that based on current knowledge in the scientific community and among 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 Covid-19 could be 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.

WHO said 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.