FDA, USDA: COVID-19 not transported on food packaging

WASHINGTON -- The coronavirus cannot be contracted from food or food packaging, the federal government said Wednesday in an effort to alleviate concerns over the role food processors play in the potential transmission of the disease.

"There is no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from food or from food packaging," read a joint statement by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Stephen Hahn, the commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration.

“The United States understands the concerns of consumers here domestically and around the world who want to know that producers, processors and regulators are taking every necessary precaution to prioritize food safety especially during these challenging times," the statement continued.

In addition to public health officials, the Mayo Clinic earlier this month said no evidence exists of anyone contracting COVID-19 after touching food containers or packaging.

Perdue and Hahn also noted that some nations are using COVID-19 to scale back on food exports despite contradictions over how it is transmitted.

"However, efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission,” they said,

Several nations began limiting food exports once the virus began spreading outside of China, where it originated, prompting concerns of possible food shortages.

Grocery prices have increased slightly as a constrained supply chain and retailers' struggles to keep products on the shelves became abundant once the pandemic gained a foothold in the United States. Between March 1 and May, 30, food prices increased 5.8 percent compared to the same time period last year.