Can you get COVID-19 from raw chicken that were handled by infected workers?
Find out what keeps going viral, and what the FACTS really are!
Claim : You Can Get COVID-19 From Infected Raw Chicken!
There have been many warnings about the dangers of raw meat contaminated by workers infected with COVID-19.
These warnings are usually tied to claims of a factory being closed over COVID-19 exposure, or multiple COVID-19 cases.
Here is a new example :
31 people in the chicken factory in Menglembu Industrial Zone were infected, and many chickens with the virus have been sold to the whole Ipoh market.
Tell your family not to buy chicken recently, it is safer to go to the market less
Can You Get COVID-19 From Raw Chicken? Plausible But Not Probable
Now, I cannot confirm whether a chicken factory in Menglembu had a cluster of 31 workers infected with COVID-19. There is currently no news report of such an incident.
So let’s just consider the question – can you get COVID-19 from infected raw chicken? Here are the facts…
Fact #1 : Not Easy To Get Infected From Handling Food
Based on the fact that other coronaviruses and respiratory viruses can be transmitted through fomites – (contaminated objects), it is certainly possible to get infected handling such objects.
However, you cannot get infected just by touching them. You have to touch your nose, mouth or eyes AFTER handling the contaminated objects.
That is easily avoided by washing your hands before touching your face!
How often do you touch your face while handling raw chicken? I’m pretty sure most of you don’t do that with your dirty hands!
Fact #2 : No Infected Cases From Handling Food
There was consistent evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can persist on certain surfaces for days. That led to early recommendations for sanitisation of public spaces where known positive cases were present.
However, WHO points out that there has been NO SPECIFIC REPORTS of anyone getting COVID-19 through fomite transmission.
The US CDC also has a specific page on the risk of getting infected by COVID-19 through contaminated food, where they concluded that as of 31 December 2020 :
- Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19.
- Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where infection was thought to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags.
- Although some people who work in food production and processing facilities have gotten COVID-19, there is no evidence of the virus spreading to consumers through the food or packaging that workers in these facilities may have handled.
Just make sure you WASH YOUR HANDS after handling raw chicken or other kinds of meat or produce, BEFORE touching your face!
I would also recommend wearing a face shield while handling raw meat or produce, as it prevents you from accidentally touching your face.
Fact #3 : People FAR Riskier Than Contaminated Food
The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets from infected human beings.
So you are FAR more likely to get infected by an infected person, than handling raw chicken or other meat contaminated by infected workers at the meat factory.
That is why it is very important to maintain COVID-19 precautions while you are out in public.
- wear a face mask, double-masking if possible
- wear a face shield, or some kind of eyewear
- maintain physical distancing as much as possible
- practice good hand hygiene at all times
It doesn’t matter if you are shopping in an air-conditioned supermarket, or buying groceries in an open-air market.
Just make it a habit to maintain those COVID-19 precautions AT ALL TIMES, as you never know who is infected with COVID-19.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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