Question Virus Contaminated Food.

Apr 1, 2020
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Can we get the Virus by eating food that has been contaminated with it? If not, why not? If so can it be contaminated by kitchen workers who have coughed or sneezed?
 

LCarlson

Administrator
Nov 12, 2019
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Lenya's link is excellent.

Food has always been a major carrier for pathogens.
If you are eating food raw, make sure it's well cleaned first.
If you are eating cooked food, there are standards of heat at which most pathogens die (this is why we pasteurize milk in most places).
Freezing will not always kill pathogens.

Good luck out there!
~LC
 
Apr 2, 2020
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No question about it: Going out to eat or stopping by the local fast food is a likely way to catch the virus! Remember, people don't know they are infected for up to 14 days! Even with precautionary measures for food handling, if a worker has the virus it can easily be spread on many surfaces and transferred to consumers.

This means grocery stores and food joints are the greatest generators of the spread in countries with lock downs.

Everyone should be smart and do their part. Stay home unless you MUST leave. If it makes it easier, just remember 1 and 5 tested in US are infected and ~35% of closed cases end in death. Is going to Wal-mart or McDonalds really worth risking your life and the lives of your loved ones?
 

LCarlson

Administrator
Nov 12, 2019
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Your death rate is higher than the actual reported numbers, but I think it's clear that we are getting to the stage where everyone knows someone, even if indirectly, who has been hit hard or has passed from this.

Many places offer online grocery services. While it is true that you may have to wait up to a week for delivery, these professional shoppers are doing us all a huge favor. Less families clogging supermarket aisles means less people transmitting coronavirus. It also helps keep the pro shoppers safer too.

I am ordering only food with a long shelf life, leave it out overnight (use your garage if you have one), and then bring it in.
I grew up when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the only "fresh" winter foods were cabbage, carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions and apples, - all of those are very easy to wash and can stay outside overnight with ease. Bagged salads are a good bet too, as it's so easy to wash the exterior of the bag.

We're all in this together!
~LC
 

LCarlson

Administrator
Nov 12, 2019
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Hey jonmike. I see your link, but I must be missing something, because I do not see where one finds "closed cases" from on the ArcGIS site.

I am genuinely curious about this. I am not a statistician, and I suspect neither are 95% of our other forum users.
Are closed cases based on hospital admissions?

Worldometer provides a more easily digestible version, where the WHO estimates the overall death rate at 3.4% (1/10 of the number you postulate), which is still very sobering compared to the WHO's original 2% prediction. Predictably it jumps to 15% among those ill enough to be admitted to hospital.
They also maintain a chart: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries
Spain at 26% deaths among closed cases: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/spain/
Italy at a staggering 43%: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/
Oddly they do not provide information on closed cases in the US.

I've also been following the LiveScience article (updated daily): https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-updates-united-states.html

Numbers will continue to fluctuate until we reach the end point, and the bottom line is that this is a very dangerous time, particularly for the elderly, and people with underlying illnesses.
 
Dec 12, 2019
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I suspect that if the food in question is properly cooked and served hot, the likelihood of its being a vector is rather small. Leftovers, cold-cuts, or serve-yourself situations... are you really THAT hungry?
 
Apr 1, 2020
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If you heat the food, that should kill the virus.

As a restaurateur, Mr Lopez-Alt's interest in food safety related the Covid-19 outbreak is commendable, but I believe he has erroneously concluded, as have many others that it is only a respiratory virus spread primarily by inhalation of virus containing droplets expelled the coughs or sneezes of infected persons. Common influenza is a well known example of such a virus. Although flues can be quite infectious, they are nothing like this Covid-19 thing.

However, the recent discovery of the Covid-19 virus in the stools of infected patients clearly indicate that it also has a gastrointestinal component.

Gastrointestinal viruses typically originate in the virus shed through vomit and stools of infected individuals and spread through poor washroom and hand hygiene finding their way through contaminated hands and surfaces to be orally ingested (eaten) by the new victims. I believe Norwalk virus is an example of such a virus.

Now, if we had hybrid virus that:
1. could be spread, and contracted like both a respiratory virus and a gastrointestinal virus,
2. and then spared many of its victims serious symptoms so they would continue to circulate in society and spread the virus throughout the contagious phases of their infections, causing new victims to be infected either directly through virus inhaled by close contact with coughing or sneezing individuals, or through ingestion of contaminated food

We would have an extremely contagious virus such as this world has not seen in a very longtime, something that would behave a lot like the Covid-19 virus.

Add the ability to develop potentially lethal acute respiratory syndrome in some of its victims and we have a very scary situation indeed.!

Given the mild symptoms experienced my many victims, the true infection will always be grossly understated due to the large number of mild cases that will likely never report and never be tested. Much like the West Nile virus that way.

With respect to food safety, I agree the Covid-19 virus is neutralized by cooking, but that doesn't mean that cooked food is not susceptible to re-contamination afterwards.

Besides the practice of a high level of hand hygiene, I think it makes sense that restaurant staff handling and serving food after cooking wear masks to prevent it from being re-infected with respiratory droplets.
 
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Apr 30, 2020
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I suspect that if the food in question is properly cooked and served hot, the likelihood of its being a vector is rather small. Leftovers, cold-cuts, or serve-yourself situations... are you really THAT hungry?
Awesome! Thank you for having common sense!
 

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