COVID-19 and Food Safety

SFA is aware of reports from Chinese authorities on detecting the nucleic acid (genetic material) of the COVID-19 virus in some food and food packaging imported from various countries. We are also aware of experimental studies on the potential survival of the COVID-19 virus on various types of food under laboratory conditions. We are monitoring such reports and studies closely.

Current state of knowledge across scientific communities and public health authorities worldwide is that the COVID-19 virus is not transmitted to humans via food.  COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and is transmitted human-to-human via respiratory droplets and contact. SFA will continue to monitor developments closely, evaluate new scientific evidence, and promptly take any necessary actions to safeguard food safety in Singapore.

The environment that we interact with can be easily contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Contact with food or food packaging is no different from contact with other non-food packaging and the environment (e.g. common touch surfaces such as lift buttons, door knobs, etc). An infected person can contaminate the food or food packaging but the risk of infections of COVID-19 due to contact with contaminated surfaces of food and food packaging is very low and can be further reduced through good public and personal hygiene practices. As such, SFA continues to emphasise the importance of good public and personal hygiene practices to uphold a high level of public health standards in Singapore. These include:

  • Seeking medical attention promptly and staying home if unwell;
  • Washing hands with soap and water regularly, including before eating and after going to the toilet;
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands;
  • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing/sneezing, and throwing the tissue away into a bin immediately;  
  • Not engaging in any food handling/preparation if unwell; and
  • Cooking food thoroughly before eating;
  • Not sharing food/drinks with others.