It's official! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by food or packaging. This means that the last holdouts can stop washing and disinfecting their food (remember those scary instructional videos last spring?). Whew!
This opinion has international consensus. For example: the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF)External Link Disclaimer, stated: “Despite the billions of meals and food packages handled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to date there has not been any evidence that food, food packaging or food handling is a source or important transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 resulting in COVID-19."
The FDA stresses that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person through the air - through droplets or aerosol transmission.
From the medical site Medscape: FDA: COVID-19 Not Transmitted by Food or Packaging
There is no evidence you can catch coronavirus through food or food packaging, the FDA and other government agencies said Thursday.
Since the pandemic began more than a year ago, the CDC and other health agencies have said they're pretty certain the virus is not transmitted through food or food packages. The latest statement reconfirmed that idea.
"After more than a year since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a global health emergency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to underscore that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19," said the statement attributed to Janet Woodcock, MD, acting commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The statement noted that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness spread person to person. Some researchers found small amounts of virus particles on food or food packaging, but infection usually requires a much higher number of particles, the statement said.
The statement said there's an "international consensus" that the chances of infection from touching food packaging or eating food is extremely low, such as the recent opinion from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods.
"Based on the scientific information that continues to be made available over the course of the pandemic, the USDA and FDA continue to be confident in the safety of the food available to American consumers and exported to international customers," the statement said.