Transmission of COVID-19 through meat products?
SARS-CoV-2 appears to be able to survive on chilled or frozen meat products in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 30 days. This could explain outbreaks of COVID-19, for example, when there has been no community transmission of the disease.
A new study involving experts from Campbell University examined the viability of two animal coronaviruses (as surrogates of SARS-CoV-2) and a lipid-coated RNA bacteriophage (phi 6) under different environmental conditions. cold storage of meat and fish. The results were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
COVID-19 outbreaks without community transmission
According to the team, the reason for the current investigation was that some COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia did not appear to have been triggered by human transmission. Reports from affected communities suggest that packaged meat products imported from areas with SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks may have been the source of the virus.
Contaminated meat and fish
In their study, the researchers therefore contaminated chicken, bovine, pork and salmon meat with viruses similar to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The meat was then stored at refrigerated and frozen temperatures for 30 days.
“Even if you don’t keep meat in the fridge for 30 days, you can keep it in the freezer just as long,” says Dr. Emily S. Bailey in a press release.
In fact, the researchers found that the viruses survived for up to thirty days despite being chilled or frozen – for varying durations depending on the food product and the temperature.
Overall, the researchers pointed out that the viruses survived for a long time in high concentrations in freezing cold temperatures. “We’ve even discovered that viruses can be grown after being frozen for so long,” adds Dr. Bailey. These are worrying results.
Experts say more efforts are now needed to prevent contamination of food from food processing surfaces, work utensils such as knives and the hands of staff. And it is necessary to improve the insufficient disinfection before packing the meat. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Emily S Bailey, Marina Curcic, Mark D Sobsey: Persistence of coronavirus substitutes on meat and fish products during long-term storage; in: Applied and Environmental Microbiology (published 07/07/2022), Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAmerican Society for Microbiology: Research suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may survive for a month on refrigerated or frozen meat products (published 07 /11/2022), American Society for Microbiology
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.