SARS-CoV-2 on food: Does freezing help?
It is known that coronaviruses can also be found on objects and food. So if the pathogens are on fresh fruit or vegetables, is it better to heat them or does deep-freezing also help to destroy the viruses?
According to current knowledge, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted directly from person to person, for example when breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing. According to experts, both droplets and aerosols play a role, explains the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) on its portal “infektionsschutz.de“. But coronaviruses can also be found on objects and food. Can the pathogens be killed by freezing?
Not a safe method
Like the consumer advice center Bavaria on theirs website explains, viruses are killed by heat, but only to a limited extent by cold. Freezing is therefore not a safe method to destroy such pathogens.
This was also evident in 2013 when frozen berries were the carriers of noroviruses. More than 10,000 people suffered from diarrhea from vomiting through the consumption of the fruits that were no longer heated.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), however, it is extremely unlikely that food represents a significant transmission path for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
“There are currently no cases in which it has been proven that people were infected with the novel coronavirus through the consumption of contaminated food,” writes the BfR.
Follow general hygiene rules
The main source of transmission of the new virus is the droplet infection, i.e. the direct coughing or sneezing of people. The pathogens are not viable for very long on food, and the number of viruses on them is usually too low to trigger an infection.
According to the Bavarian Consumer Association, the unlikely event that an infected person coughs or sneezes on food and the next person consumes it unwashed after a short time would have to occur.
Nevertheless, the general hygiene rules of everyday life should always be followed as a preventive measure when handling food. This primarily includes washing hands before and during preparation, but also after unpacking packaged food, for example. (ad)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Consumer advice center Bavaria: Does deep-freezing destroy coronaviruses on fruit and vegetables ?, (Access: August 31, 2020), Consumer advice center Bavaria
- Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA): Can the novel coronavirus be transmitted via food and objects ?, (Access: August 31, 2020), infektionsschutz.de
- Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR): Coronavirus: Contagion and transmission, (accessed: August 31, 2020), Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.