Coronavirus: no evidence that food is a source or transmission route
EFSA is closely monitoring the situation regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that is affecting a large number of countries across the globe. There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.
EFSA’s chief scientist, Marta Hugas, said: “Experiences from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), show that transmission through food consumption did not occur. At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is any different in this respect.”
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said that while animals in China were the likely source of the initial infection, the virus is spreading from person to person – mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale. More information on coronavirus and food can be found in this FAQ by the BfR, Germany’s risk assessment body.
Scientists and authorities across the world are monitoring the spread of the virus and there have not been any reports of transmission through food. For this reason, EFSA is not currently involved in the response to the COVID-19 outbreaks. However, we are monitoring the scientific literature for new and relevant information.
Regarding food safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued precautionary recommendations including advice on following good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods. More information can be found on the WHO website.
Reducing the chances of contagion – measures in place at EFSA’s headquarters
EFSA is based in Parma, in the north of Italy, which is one of the areas currently subject to emergency restrictions on movement imposed by the Italian government. As of the last week in February, we have adopted a series of measures in line with advice from the Italian authorities.
We have introduced homeworking for most of our staff and telemeetings with experts and partners, while events, staff travel and public visits to EFSA premises have been suspended until at least 8 April. These measures are being reviewed constantly in light of new information.
Rolling information on the outbreak and risks assessments used by the EU Member States and the European Commission in their response activities are being updated continuously by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The World Health Organization is coordinating global efforts.
You can find more information, on the website of the European Commission.
If you are a Journalist/Media representative, please contact our Media Relations Office. Otherwise, please use the Ask EFSA Service.
Latest News from
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook03/08/2021 15:25:00
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook under the EU Merger Regulation.
Nicaragua: EU imposes sanctions on eight more individuals03/08/2021 13:25:00
The Council has imposed restrictive measures on eight more individuals responsible for serious human rights violations in Nicaragua and/or whose actions undermined democracy or the rule of law, including Vice-President Rosario Murillo.
Forest fires: EU mobilises planes to support Turkey02/08/2021 13:25:00
On 1 August, Turkey, ravaged by unprecedented forest fires, activated the EU Civil Protection Mechansim.
Lebanon: EU adopts a framework for targeted sanctions02/08/2021 11:33:00
The Council recently (30 July 2021) adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures to address the situation in Lebanon.
Coronavirus: EU supports Member States with transport of essential supplies02/08/2021 09:25:00
The Commission continues to provide further financial support to six Member States through the Mobility Package of the Emergency Support Instrument amounting to over €14 million, for the transport of COVID-19 vaccination-related equipment and COVID-19 therapeutics.
EU Cohesion policy: €3.7 billion from REACT-EU to support measures for recovery and digital and green transition in Spain30/07/2021 15:25:00
The Commission has granted €3.7 billion for the recovery and digital and green transition of Spain under REACT-EU.
European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day: Statement by President von der Leyen, Vice-President Jourová and Commissioner Dalli30/07/2021 13:25:00
European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day: Statement given by President von der Leyen, Vice-President Jourová and Commissioner Dalli.
Global Education Summit: Team Europe pledges leading contribution of €1.7 billion to the Global Partnership for Education30/07/2021 11:33:00
At yesterday's Global Education Summit in London, the European Union and its Member States, as Team Europe, pledged €1.7 billion to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help transform education systems for more than one billion girls and boys in up to 90 countries and territories.
EU Cohesion policy: Commission adopts €21 billion Greek Partnership Agreement for 2021-202730/07/2021 09:25:00
The Commission has adopted the first Partnership Agreement for the 2021-2027 programming period for Greece, the first EU country to submit its strategic reference document for deploying more than €21 billion of investments for its economic, social and territorial cohesion.