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How safe is your food? Study reveals coronavirus can stay on some groceries for days

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in China has returned fears of a pandemic. Again, people worry if they can survive another deadly wave. While governments around the world have begun taking precautionary measures to limit the spread of infection, many of us have begun social distancing, stocking up on sanitizers, and wearing masks in public places.

In all of this, we often ask ourselves if contaminated food could spread COVID-19 infection. There’s no definitive answer to this, but new research suggests the virus can linger in food for days, sometimes weeks.

Deadly viruses can survive in some groceries and packaged foods better than others, according to a study published on the official website of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The virus stayed longer on textured foods such as broccoli, peppers and raspberries. If the ambient temperature is 23°C, the virus can survive in broccoli for nearly 5 days. In peppers, on the other hand, the virus can survive for about 7 days when stored at a low temperature of 6°C.

Hams such as cheese, cheddar cheese, and sliced ​​ham were still detectable after a week of storage in the refrigerator. Foods high in water, protein and saturated fat can help the virus live longer, researchers say. This highlights the importance of proper food handling to prevent viral contamination prior to consumption.

The virus can be detected on the crust and surface of pastries such as croissants and pain au chocolat for several hours, but is significantly reduced after 24 hours. The study points out that the coating of liquid egg wash may have an inhibitory effect on the virus because eggs contain arachidonic acid and other unsaturated fatty acids that have antiviral properties.

The same FSA study also found that the infectivity of the virus drops within hours after contamination of apples and olives. “It suggests that chemicals such as flavonoids present in the skin of apples and olives inactivate the virus,” reveals CA Bryant, SA Wilks, and CW Keevil, whose authors contributed to the study. Did.

Finally, the study revealed that the coronavirus can remain in plastic containers and cartons for days.

A laboratory-based study entitled Survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the surfaces of food and food packaging materials was conducted by the FSA in collaboration with the University of Southampton to artificially produce the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was carried out by contaminating the surface. Various food products and their packaging. The researchers measured how the amount of infectious virus present on their surfaces decreased over time.

To conclude the study, the researchers said: Respiratory aerosols and droplets are thought to be the main routes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. ”

“It should be noted that the food and packaging considered as part of this study were artificially inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 and therefore do not reflect the contamination levels found in these foods at retail outlets. Yes, but there is the possibility of transmission through contaminated food, if the food comes into direct contact with the mouth or mucous membranes,” they added.

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