Leaders from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a rare joint statement, emphasizing there is “no credible evidence” that food and food packing are sources of COVID-19 transmission.
“Today’s statement is an example of experts adhering to science and translating that high-level understanding into an important public health message,” says Lisa Weddig, vice president for regulatory and technical affairs at the National Fisheries Institute.
The statement highlighted the safety of the U.S. food supply, noting that the findings are based on “overwhelming international scientific consensus.”
The news means seafood consumers can continue enjoying ocean fare. “From epidemiologists to biologists, authorities are confident in the safety of the seafood supply and, what’s more, health experts cite seafood’s role in supporting a healthy immune system,” says Weddig.
“People are understandably nervous about contracting COVID-19, given the spike in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths since the start of the holiday season,” says Barry Nash, seafood technology and marketing specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant. “This announcement from federal public-health agencies should assure consumers that the USA food system is not a source of COVID-19 transmission.”
The USDA, FDA, and CDC also pointed to a recent opinion from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, which reported that “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 [the disease.]”
lead photo: shrimp and broccoli stir-fry, from Mariner’s Menu. Photo by Vanda Lewis.
adapted from a press release from the National Fisheries Institute