On August 2, 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released an update to their report “COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses.” The first sentence of the report clearly states, “current data indicates that neither food nor food packaging is a pathway for the spread of viruses causing respiratory illnesses, including SARS-CoV-2.” FAO has updated the guidance document with information collected over the last 18 months to “suitably protect food workers, while not to restrict the food supply chains with ineffective measures.”
The update includes references to recent research on how respiratory illnesses, including SARS-CoV-2, are spread and provides advice on how to protect workers throughout the supply chain. The original FAO guidelines from April 2020 were criticized for suggesting SARS-CoV-2 was a food safety issue. The updated guidance is meant to alleviate that concern. However, according to Markus Lipp, FAO Senior Food Safety Officer, “it remains essential for the food industry and authorities regulating the food industry to protect all workers from person-to-person spread of these viruses.”
Since early 2020, the Food Packaging Forum has collected research and news related to the SARS-CoV-2 and food packaging. You can read more on our Coronavirus & Packaging page.
FAO (August 2, 2021). “Preventing transmission of COVID-19 within food businesses.”