FOOD SAFETY AND COVID-19 ACCORDING TO THE EUROPEAN AUTHORITY30/03/2020
Faced with a global emergency such as the Covid-19 virus, the European authority has finally intervened. Marta Hugas, Scientific Assistance Directorate of EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), had this to say: “There is no scientific proof that food is a source or vehicle of transmission of the Covid-19 virus: transmission occurs through the pharyngeal-nasal tract and, as far as we are currently aware, not through the digestive tract. The European Union benefits from clear rules and regulations regarding biosecurity and industrial hygiene and these rules guarantee a
high level of food safety for consumers”.
EFSA has issued a statement affirming that “studies undertaken on previous breeding grounds of similar epidemics, such as SARS and MERS, which were not transmitted through food, lead us to believe that the new Covid-19 is no different”. The position held by EFSA is confirmed in statements released by other organisations: scientists and bodies around the world are in fact monitoring the spread of the virus and no occurrences of food transmission have been reported. The ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) affirms that the virus is spreading from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets expelled through sneezing, coughing or exhaling. The French government’s ANSES (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail) adds that contagion through the digestive tract is to be excluded even in the event of foods prepared by an infected person.
Additional precautionary measures.
Regarding food safety, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has released a series of precautionary recommendations including advice for good hygiene conduct to be put into practice during the handling and preparation of foods, such as for example thorough handwashing, the use of gloves and face masks and the sanitisation of ventilation systems.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is constantly updating their information on the epidemic and the evaluations of risk in EU member states. Globally, these measures are coordinated by the World Health Organisation.