To date the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) has killed around three-quarters of a million people worldwide and irrevocably changed the lives of many more. One constant for many remains the weekly food shop and with restaurants, bars and other beginning to open its imperative that the risk to the public is minimized wherever possible. Industry has the primary responsibility to ensure the foods they produce are safe and available to consumers. Clearly, at this critical time, food safety is as important as it has ever been, and food producers will need to redouble their food safety efforts.
In an average year, which this arguably isn’t, worldwide foodborne diseases are responsible for over 400,000 deaths and lead to 1 in 10 people falling ill. Due to the current pandemic, people and health services are already under immense strain, it’s the industry’s responsibility to protect consumers, not just from SARS-CoV-2 but from any preventable food-related illness and reduce the strain wherever possible.
Coronaviruses have been shown to survive (remain viable) on different surfaces for up to nine days, under specific conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, and light. The virus can be transmitted by touching contaminated food or food contact surfaces (including packaging materials) when a healthy person touches these contaminated food or food contact surfaces, and then shortly afterward, touches eyes, mouth, or nose.
Proper cleaning, surveillance, and the prevention of cross-contamination are critical in the control of foodborne illnesses. The application of sound principles of environmental sanitation, personal hygiene and established food safety practices will reduce the likelihood that harmful pathogens will threaten the safety of the food supply, regardless of how the food is sourced. Despite it not being mandatory, many food manufacturers, processors and outlets are choosing to test the food, food packaging and the food production environment for the virus.
Thermo Fisher is at the heart of the global response to the current coronavirus pandemic. Over 50% of COVID-19 testing is performed on Thermo Fisher technology making us uniquely placed to provide a complete solution for detecting the virus from food packaging and environmental monitoring.
To find out more about detection of SARS-CoV-2 from food packaging and environmental monitoring samples and how Thermo Fisher Scientific can help visit thermofisher.com/food-sars-cov-2