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Infectious Covid virus can stay on some groceries for days - BBC

Infectious Covid virus can stay on some groceries for days - BBC

Infectious Covid virus can stay on some groceries for days - BBC
Dec 02, 2022 1 min, 18 secs

Scientists carried out tests for the Food Standards Agency (FSA), purposely smearing the virus on to packaging and food products, including fruit, pastries and bottled drinks.

For most food products tested there was a "significant drop" in the levels of virus over the first 24 hours.

"The public may be interested in the finding that virus may persist in an infectious state, on foods and food packaging surfaces, for several days under certain common conditions.".

The amount of virus they applied was designed to simulate how much might land on food if someone who was infected coughed or sneezed near it, for example, because Covid is spread by respiratory droplets.

Breathing in infected droplets, rather than touching infected surfaces, is still the main way people catch Covid.

Anthony Wilson, microbiological risk assessment team leader at the FSA, said: "In the early stages of the pandemic, we didn't know much about how the virus would survive on different food surfaces and packaging, so the risk assessment was based on a worst-case assumption.

The team examined a range of temperatures and humidity levels to mimic typical storage conditions, measuring the rate of inactivation of the virus, and found:.

The virus appears to last longer on produce with uneven surfaces - broccoli and raspberries - than on smooth skinned ones such as apples (although some chilled fresh peppers had detectable virus a week later).

Apples contain natural chemicals in their skin that may start to break down the Covid virus within minutes or hours, the scientists say.

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