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Packaged food could be spreading the virus

Past evidence has shown that food is an unlikely route of transmitting the coronavirus across borders, yet somehow contaminated items still continue to grab the spotlight, deepening the uncertainty over whether the $220 billion cold chain industry could be implicated in the spread of Covid-19.

China had reported that it had found traces of the pathogen on packaging and food, raising fears that imported items are linked to recent virus resurgences in Beijing and the port city of Dalian. In the nation’s strongest action since it began testing food items in June, a major Chinese city on Sunday banned imports of frozen meat from coronavirus hotspots.

Cold-storage facilities and meat processing plants have been ideal environments for the virus to inculcate and spread, as the pathogen thrives in cold and dry environments. But there has been no concrete evidence the virus can be transmitted through food, and experts remain doubtful that it’s a major threat.

“We know that viruses usually can survive being frozen. So that means in theory it’s possible that infection could spread that way,” said Benjamin Cowling, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong. “But in reality, it’s a very low risk that that would happen because so many steps would need to be involved.” (Source : ndtv.com)