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Transmission of Covid-19 through food consumption unlikely, health authorities say

The transmission of Covid-19 through food consumption is unlikely, the state health services said after 92 employees at a slaughterhouse in Nicosia were found positive to the virus on Saturday.

Following concerns among consumers after the announcement that 92 people working at Cypra slaughterhouse, the state health services, citing European health agencies, said the transmission of Covid-19 through food consumption was unlikely.

“Scientists and authorities around the world are monitoring the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and point out that according to the data so far, transmission of the virus through food consumption is unlikely,” an official announcement said.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), it said, there is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health in relation to Covid-19. The European authority further notes that scientific data on previous outbreaks of similar coronavirus infections (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV) show that there has been no transmission through food consumption and that, based on the data available to date, it does not appear that the novel coronavirus is different from the previous ones in terms of its transmission through food consumption, it said.

The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) has also stated that the virus is spread from person to person, mainly through the respiratory tract. In addition, according to the German Risk Assessment Agency (BfR) there are no known reports of infections from other coronaviruses due to food consumption or contact with dry surfaces.

According to the announcement, transmission through surfaces that have been recently infected with viruses is possible by touch, however, as pathogens in the hands can enter through the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth or eyes and lead to infection. However, this is only likely to happen shortly after the surface is infected by an infected person, due to the relatively low stability of coronaviruses in the environment.

It also said that the National Authority for the Health and Safety of France (ANSES) states, based on current knowledge, that the direct transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the digestive tract is excluded.

Therefore, it said, consumers are required to follow simple hygiene rules when preparing food such as the basic rules of hygiene and safety in the kitchen, good hand washing with soap, proper cooking of food (meat), and proper storage of perishable food at refrigerator temperature. It also advises to clean surfaces after cutting meat on them after each use, and use different cutting surfaces for fish, meat, vegetables and bread, while it is recommended that people do not leave other foods next to raw meat.

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