The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is being questioned for its possible food transmission, due to several reports of the virus on food, outbreaks developed in food companies, as well as its origins linked to the wet market of Wuhan, China. The purpose of this review is to analyze the scientific evidence gathered so far on the relationship between food and the pandemic, considering all aspects of the food system that can be involved. The collected data indicate that there is no evidence that foods represent a risk for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, even if the virus can persist on food surfaces, there are currently no proven cases of infection from food. Moreover, the pandemic showed to have deeply influenced the eating habits of consumers and their purchasing methods, but also to have enhanced food waste and poverty. Another important finding is the role of meat processing plants as suitable environments for the onset of outbreaks. Lessons learned from the pandemic include the correct management of spaces, food hygiene education for both food workers and common people, the enhancement of alternative commercial channels, the reorganization of food activities, in particular wet markets, and intensive farming, following correct hygiene practices. All these outcomes lead to another crucial lesson, which is the importance of the resilience of the food system. These lessons should be assimilated to deal with the present pandemic and possible future emergencies. Future research directions include further investigation of the factors linked to the food system that can favor the emergence of viruses, and of innovative technologies that can reduce viral transmission.

The multifaceted relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and the food system

Antonello Paparella
;
Chiara Purgatorio;Clemencia Chaves-Lopez;Chiara Rossi;Annalisa Serio
2022-01-01

Abstract

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is being questioned for its possible food transmission, due to several reports of the virus on food, outbreaks developed in food companies, as well as its origins linked to the wet market of Wuhan, China. The purpose of this review is to analyze the scientific evidence gathered so far on the relationship between food and the pandemic, considering all aspects of the food system that can be involved. The collected data indicate that there is no evidence that foods represent a risk for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, even if the virus can persist on food surfaces, there are currently no proven cases of infection from food. Moreover, the pandemic showed to have deeply influenced the eating habits of consumers and their purchasing methods, but also to have enhanced food waste and poverty. Another important finding is the role of meat processing plants as suitable environments for the onset of outbreaks. Lessons learned from the pandemic include the correct management of spaces, food hygiene education for both food workers and common people, the enhancement of alternative commercial channels, the reorganization of food activities, in particular wet markets, and intensive farming, following correct hygiene practices. All these outcomes lead to another crucial lesson, which is the importance of the resilience of the food system. These lessons should be assimilated to deal with the present pandemic and possible future emergencies. Future research directions include further investigation of the factors linked to the food system that can favor the emergence of viruses, and of innovative technologies that can reduce viral transmission.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11575/125398
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