Is nothing sacred?
We have some unappetizing news: Disease control centers in China have detected the coronavirus on frozen chicken wings, according to Reuters. Officials didn’t disclose which brand of wings was involved, but they did state that the shipment came from Brazil, which has the second-highest rate of COVID-19 infection in the world. Brazil currently has 3.4 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country’s case numbers are only behind those of the United States, which has 5.4 million confirmed cases at press time.
This isn’t the first time reports have circulated about food or food packaging testing positive for the coronavirus. A few days before the chicken-wing news broke, China reported that shrimp packaging from Ecuador also tested positive, Reuters says, and New Zealand is reportedly examining whether their new spate of infections can be linked to freight shipping.
So should you be eyeing your fridge with suspicion? Experts don’t think so, at least not based on the current science surrounding COVID-19 and food.
“Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Now, it’s certainly possible we’ll learn more—the CDC has indeed issued faulty guidance before, and its page on food and COVID-19 was last updated on June 22. However, when asked if this frozen chicken wing news changes how much we should worry about COVID-19 transmission from food, Eleanor Murray, Sc.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, had a reassuring answer: “I don’t think this changes it. The fact is that we’re not seeing a lot of fomite transmission. Fomites are virus particles on surfaces,” she tells SELF. “Either it’s difficult to get infected that way or the precautions we’ve been taking as a country, world, et cetera have been sufficient.”