Coronavirus is a global epidemic at the moment. Different countries and international organizations have focused their attention on sensitizing people on how to stay safe from the disease.
In this article, you will learn more about coronavirus and food safety, some of the concerns concerning the disease, and safety measures such as using food thermometers which can help you to eat safety during coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus affects both humans and animals. Some of the coronaviruses have been the cause of many respiratory conditions, including the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Keep reading to learn more about food safety and Coronavirus disease.
The most recent disease caused by the virus is COVID-19. Some of the common symptoms of the illness include a dry cough, fever, and tiredness. In some cases, patients may experience pain, nasal congestion, and diarrhea.
The signs of coronavirus disease begin gradually and eventually become mild. Depending on a person’s immune system, patients may not show any symptoms and may not feel unwell. According to statistics, a significant percentage of the affected people recover fully without undergoing any special treatment.
However, some people become seriously ill and require medical attention. The risk of infection is higher among older adults and those with medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Healthy people can contract coronavirus from others who have it. The illness can spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth of affected individuals after coughing or exhaling. If the droplets land on objects, you can get infected after touching such surfaces.
Food Safety Concerns Towards COVID-19
People around the globe have many concerns about the disease. One of the main concerns is whether meat and other animal products carry coronavirus. Since the first coronavirus disease cases were associated with animals, some people think meat and animal products pose a higher risk to consumers.
However, researchers have not found any evidence to support the theory. According to some medical experts, the main symptoms of the disease are respiratory-related. Therefore, the mode of transmission has to be respiratory and not oral.
Research is still undergoing to establish how coronavirus disease infections started. Some scientists believe coronavirus originated from bats, then to other animals, and then humans.
People have also expressed their concerns about the possibility of infections after eating raw fruits and vegetables. Theoretically, you can contract the disease if an infected person sneezes on fruits if you pick them up and touch your face.
Chances of infection are much higher when you stand next to someone suffering from the virus when shopping for groceries. That’s why awareness about food safety and coronavirus is crucial. Ensure social distance during grocery shopping.
Should you wash farm produce differently than you usually do?
That’s a common coronavirus and food safety question among many people. It’s unnecessary. You only need to wash groceries in water. For hard produce such as apples and potatoes, you can use a vegetable brush.
Some people think that using soap or a bleach solution can be more effective in cleaning farm produce. However, according to medical experts, such cleaning products can cause stomach upset. Also, there’s no evidence that the use of vinegar can help to kill coronavirus. Many people have also raised questions on whether they can get infected from food packaging.
According to the CDC, there have been no infections resulting from food or packaging. The agency pointed out that the risk of contraction when using packaging products is low.
Some people think that using goods from affected countries poses higher risks of infection. However, authorities have no evidence yet that imported goods have led to the contraction of the coronavirus disease.
Can the Coronavirus Disease Spread Through Food?
It’s unlikely for you to get the illness by taking food. Obviously, the coronavirus can get into your food if an infected person coughs on the food or touches your food using their hands. However, unlike bacteria, the virus cannot multiply on food.
Most of the bacteria associated with foodborne diseases can grow in food, meaning if the ingredients and conditions are right, some of the microorganisms can multiply in a limited period. Coronavirus requires living hosts to survive as they invade their cells and generate millions of particles.
There is limited information about how long viruses can survive on food, but generally, their chances of survival are higher on porous materials such as metal and plastic than organic surfaces like cardboard.
According to the CDC and other international health organizations, there is no evidence that the viral disease can spread through food or packaging. Previous studies on viral infections have shown strong evidence suggesting that food is not a vector.
Medical professionals have pointed out that the spread pattern of coronavirus is different from those of foodborne diseases.
Therefore, two or more people cannot get sick by touching the same contaminated food or drink. According to the findings of some health organizations about food safety and the coronavirus, most infections are associated with crowds, church groups, shoppers, and none to contaminated food or drinks.
What Food Safety Measures Are Restaurants Taking?
Professional food handlers get training in food safety and hygiene practices. The government has regulations about various issues in restaurants, including the location of hand-washing sinks, recommended cleaning products, the frequency of sanitization, recommended temperature for kitchen appliances, and the temperature for cooking different foods.
There are penalties for non-compliance to federal and state guidelines, which vary depending on jurisdictions. In many parts of the country, restaurants have been ordered to close to patrons. However, to observe food safety, some of them are offering take-outs and several delivery options.
In some areas, authorities have limited group exposure to a maximum of 10 individuals and maintaining social distance.
What Measures Can We Take at Home to Avoid Infection?
One of the most effective ways of coronavirus prevention is washing hands regularly. You have heard it before and will continue hearing: apply soap on your hands and scrub, scrub, scrub. Coronaviruses on your hands or fingers may end up been transmitted to other people you come into contact with.
Ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly after going in a public toilet or touching surfaces other people may have touched, when handling food, after coughing and sneezing. The cleaning should take at least 20 seconds.
If you have no access to sinks, apply hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol until you get to one. Another preventive measure is staying at home. Limit the amount of time you spend in public places or around other people.
You should consider working from home if possible, use your private car instead of public means, and avoid unnecessary trips.
Also, maintain respiratory hygiene and etiquette when sneezing or coughing. Irrespective of your current health condition, it’s advisable to avoid all types of touches, including hugging, kissing, and handshakes.
Clean all commonly used surfaces in your home using sanitizers. Use disinfectant wipes on areas such as countertops and computers. You should also clean your cellphones regularly to kill any coronaviruses that may be present.
If you go to the gym, wipe the equipment and weights using disinfectants before and after using them. If you are exercising with other people in your facility, ensure that you maintain up to 6 feet between yourself and others.
The Importance of Cooking Food to the Right Temperature for Safety
According to experts from the World Health Organization, coronavirus is likely susceptible to normal cooking temperatures.
Some medical professionals have pointed out that there is no need for cooking food at different temperature levels. Currently, it is said that the virus can be killed at 132.8° F and higher. But you also need to tell meat doneness and eat healthy.
Medical professionals believe that cooking food at the same temperature level required to kill pathogens that are associated with foodborne diseases is likely to kill coronaviruses. For example, you should cook fresh pork at 145° F, 160° F for beef, and 165° F for poultry.
Just like any type of virus, safe cooking depends on temperature and time. Therefore, if you use high temperatures, you’ll need less time to kill viral loads present to safe levels. Researchers do not have enough evidence about the exact amount of time and temperature to kill coronavirus.
However, scientists suggest that cooking at a temperature of 149° F for about 3 minutes can be effective.
When you reheat, or cook foods such as chicken breasts or bread, the chances of viruses penetrating past the surface are low unless the food has been cut. As a result, when reheating the outer part, you’ll be safe.
One of the measures that you can take to stay safe against coronavirus is maintaining hygiene and maintaining social distance. Specialists recommend 6 feet. Food safety and coronavirus disease awareness are also crucial. For example, you ensure that meat is well-cooked. Consider buying a ThermoPro meat thermometer to ensure that you get accurate readings when preparing meat in your home.