FDA says food safety and supply remains steady during the coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus

A worker, wearing a protective mask and gloves against the COVID-19 coronavirus, stocks produce before the opening of Gus’s Community Market, Friday, March 27, 2020, in San Francisco. Health experts say there’s no evidence the new coronavirus is spread through food. That’s because organisms take different biological paths to sicken people. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(WRIC) — The Food and Drug Administration sent out an announcement Wednesday assuring that the American food supply is still safe for humans and animals during the coronavirus outbreak.

Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, said in the announcement there is no evidence the virus has been transmitted through food packaging or animal food.

He said this isn’t a foodborne gastrointestinal virus such as hepatitis A, which makes people sick through food consumption. SARS-CoV-2, causes respiratory illness and is only thought to spread person to person.

Since there is no evidence that it can be transmitted through food, the FDA said it does not think food products need to be recalled even if someone who works in a food facility test positive for COVID-19.

The commissioner also said there is not currently a disruption in the food supply chain.

“Speaking personally, I’ve had the same experience that many other consumers have had of going to my neighborhood grocery store and seeing shelves empty of certain items,” Yiannas said. “But based on our ongoing communication with industry, we understand this is largely an issue of unprecedented demand – not a lack of capacity to produce, process and deliver – and manufacturers and retailers alike are working around the clock to replenish shelves.”

He added the FDA is working with food suppliers and grocery stores to keep an eye out of the human and pet food supply chains.

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