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FAKE NEWS RE SEAFOOD AND COVID-19

There is media circulating that the latest outbreak of the virus in Beijing, China (linked to Xinfadi Seafood Market) has originated from Salmon and even other seafood.

Whilst this market and other wet-markets have been temporarily closed it has been clearly reported by the local government that the outbreak was due to a worker at the market and has nothing to do with the food, particularly local and imported seafood.

It is important to note there is no evidence (science or otherwise) that COVID-19 and other such viruses can infect or be transmitted by seafood.  Here is some information that you may find useful – a summary list and links to international public health confirming that COVID-19 is not a Food Safety issue.

Below you will find a summary list and link to international public health groups reiterating that COIVD-19 is not a food safety issue:

  • The US Food and Drug Administration states: “…. there is no evidence that food or food packaging have been associated with transmission (of COVID-19) and no reason to be concerned.”
  • The Codex Alimentarius states:  “COVID-19 is a respiratory illness primarily transmitted through person-to-person contact and direct contact with respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  There is no evidence to date of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses being transmitted via food or food packaging.  Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply. It is highly unlikely that people can contract COVID-19 from food or food packaging.”
  • The Norwegian Food Safety Agency states:  “There are no known cases of infection via contaminated food, imported food or water.  Therefore, fish and seafood products from Norway are safe to eat.”
  • The European Food Safety Authority states:  “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 German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment states: “There are currently no cases which have shown any evidence of humans being infected with the new type of coronavirus by another method, such as via the consumption of contaminated food or via imported toys.”
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states: “Despite the hypothesis that the virus may have originated in bats and infected another animal used for food, there is no evidence of continued transmission of the virus from animals to humans through the food chain.”
  • Asian Fisheries Science Journal peer-reviewed paper states: “Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can infect aquatic food animals (eg finfish, crustaceans, molluscs, amphibians) and therefore these animals do not play an epidemiological role in spreading COVID-19 to humans.”
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states:  “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging..”  
  • University College London researchers state:  “SARS-CoV-2 can infect a broad range of mammals, but few fish, birds or reptiles” and that “and that “most [fish] have no susceptibility to infection
  • Asian Fisheries Science journal states:  “Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can infect aquatic food animals (e.g. finfish, crustaceans, molluscs, amphibians) and therefore these animals do not play an epidemiological role in spreading COVID-19 to humans.”  (authors include 16 global public health researchers)

North Carolina State University researcher states:   “In fact, we don’t see evidence of any respiratory viruses being transmitted through food in the past,’ he said.”  (COVID-19 is a respiratory virus)

Acknowledgements – Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG)

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