Frozen food has been a great alternative during the lockdown period as dining outside persists to be a charming. But dangerous idea if we are to avoid contracting the virus. As of the time this article is written, Corvid-19 has affected 21.8 million people around the world. With 5.44 million in the United States of America alone. Citizens of New York are better off living some time without the delicious sandwiches of West Village, Japanese from Lower East Side, and Chinatown’s mouth-watering Chinese food in all the glory of these dining sites.
How Frozen Food Cure from Covid-19
Covid-19 however, has made its way to the safer alternative of frozen food as well. Recently, two Chinese cities found traces of Covid-19 on imported frozen food cargoes from Brazil. Health authorities in Shenzhen not only discovered the virus on the packaging but the very surface of frozen chicken wings. Whereas, the city of Xian in northwestern China detected the virus on frozen shrimp packaging. Both of these imports came from Brazil resulting in the suspension of imported seafood and meat from Brazil and some other places for a temporary period.
Despite the initial panic caused by this incident, authorities have not found any newer cases linked with the frozen food items as of yet. This is surprisingly against the odds as Covid-19 has the ability to survive on various surfaces for a considerably long amount of time and may infect anyone who comes in contact with the surface and proceeds to touch his face with his hands. This is based on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) studies. This recent event in China contradicts the theory so far and to add to it, no other studies have shown a direct link between infected patients and contaminated surfaces. As WHO (World Health Organization) said; “it is highly unlikely that contaminated surfaces infect individuals with Covid-19.”
So, despite its long survival period and highly contractual nature, frozen food is not the most ideal place for the virus as it can not reproduce and multiply on non-living surfaces. The reason behind the lack of cases from contaminated surfaces could be the low traces of virus on the non-living surfaces. If a surface has very few viral agents, there is a high probability that they will not be able to survive until they reach a living host. This tells us that a surface such as a frozen food package can only be truly harmful if it has a considerably high number of Covid-19 agents and also it has immediately come in contact with a human body. This is likely the reason WHO ruled out the possibility of contracting the virus from surfaces very low.
However, Health News history says it is very important to remember that the very first Covid-19 cases emerged in the seafood market of Huanan. Also, the lead of microbiology lab Li Fengqin at China National Center for Food and Safety Risk urged the media not to ignore the possibility that new infections might be coming from contaminated frozen food. Then the very recent re-emergence of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand was traced back to a man in his 50s, who was interestingly working in a facility operated by Americold. Americold is a company that deals in imported frozen foods and frozen food packages. This is a strong clue despite that there has been no confirmed identification of virus traces on frozen foods in New Zealand.
So, what does this mean for our consumption of frozen food items? Should we be more careful with our food options as other lifestyle choices during this pandemic or not worry at all? The answer lies in caution with reasonable limits. Factually, we have only observed that Covid-19 spreads through contact of bodily fluids like droplets from a cough or sneeze more readily than any other source. So our goal is to eliminate all the possibilities that these droplets might have made it to our frozen food and their packaging. Here are a few ways we can minimize the risk of contamination of our frozen food:
- Ensure that your frozen food supplier or market takes appropriate safety measures i.e. facemasks, gloves, sanitizer.
- Wash the packaging surfaces thoroughly before use.
- Cook whatever needs cooking at a high temperature preferably at around 167 degrees Fahrenheit or 75 degrees Celsius.
- Wash your hands before and after coming in contact with the packaging.
- If it is fruits and vegetables, rinse them properly
- Make sure to store the packages in a place where they cannot contaminate other surfaces or your body.
- FDA has guidelines on safety approaches for food handling, make sure to use them and protect yourself and your family.