Fisheries Institute of SP demystifies the relationship between fish and coronavirus

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In partnership with several international institutions and the WHO, the various were clarified

There are still doubts among consumers about foods that could transmit the dreaded coronavirus. So far there is no record that food can contract covid-19, including fish. To clarify further doubts, the Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply of the State of São Paulo, together with the Fisheries Institute (IP-APTA), presented some important clarifications, with scientific data from various authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) . Below are some answers sent by the Fisheries Institute of São Paulo for general clarification.

 

Am I at risk of contracting Covid-19 by eating fish?

There is no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread through any food product. It should be noted that the mode of infection is mainly respiratory, so the chance of contagion of COVID-19 through food is almost nil.

Does Coronavirus survive in packaging?

Coronaviruses are normally transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support food-associated transmission of COVID-19. But it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, before preparing or eating food, for overall food safety.

 

If an infected consumer takes a packet of fish and puts it back, can the next person to touch it become infected with coronavirus?

Due to the low survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, it is likely that there is a very low risk of propagation in food or packaging transported and stored for sale, for a period of days or weeks at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. However, it may be possible for a person to become infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not the main means of contamination and dissemination of the virus.

Does cooking food kill the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses need a host (animal or human) to grow and cannot grow in food. Complete cooking is expected to kill the virus, and heat treatment of at least 30 minutes at 60°C is known to be effective with SARS.

Are some species or types of fish riskier than others?

No food product, including fish, is considered a risk of spreading the coronavirus. Cooking fish is an added safety option.

Should I avoid fish from China?

The probability of an infected person infecting commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 in a package that has been transported and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low. In general, due to the low survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely to be a very low risk of propagation in food or packaging transported over a period of days or weeks at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. In the US there was no case of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.

 

The full answers are provided by researcher Rúbia Yuri Tomita, from the Laboratory Reference Unit in Fish Technology, Fisheries Institute — APTA — Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply of the State of São Paulo.