Thanks to Dr. Leon Axel for his cartoons, especially this one.
Thanks to Dr. Leon Axel for his cartoons, especially this one.
Not many restaurants will be able to survive Coronavirus, and this is a personal, social, and national tragedy.
I’m worried about farmers’ markets too.
Researchers say that the cost of Coronavirus to farm-to-consumer programs could go well into the billions. I believe it.
Now is the time to support your local farmers.
California has ruled farmers’ markets essential to local economies.
Now is the time to do what you can to keep them open and viable, even with the need for social distancing. Use home delivery or curbside pick up if you have to.
Even more, join the Farmers Market Coalition campaign for congressional support.
Is farmers’ market produce safe to eat? Yes (with some caveats), as I discussed on Monday.
From the New York Times
Does food transmit Coronavirus?
Keeping up Coronoavirus
How to survive working at home (watch out for junk food)
How to take action
Advice for the food industry
What’s happening with supermarkets and supply chains?
What to avoid: dubious schemes for immune boosting
Who profits from this?
I’ve been getting many requests from friends to weigh in on what’s safe to eat.
To answer these questions, I did a lot of reading and also consulted my guru for such matters and longstanding colleague, Dr. Bobby Baron, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean Graduate and Continuing Medical Education at UCSF.
Basically, the answer to all these questions is yes. To date, there is no evidence of Cornonavirus transmission through food.
Transmission risk is greatest from infected people. Hence: social distance and hand washing when dealing with food and deliveries of packages.
Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, mostly. Contamination through food is theoretically possible, but hasn’t happened yet far as we know.
To be 100 percent safe while eating fresh produce
Do what you would do in countries without safe water supplies—follow the P rules and only eat foods that are:
As always, wash hands.
If you have fresh produce, wash it. When in doubt, cook it.
Food safety resources for Coronavirus
Data on Coronavirus survival on surfaces
This week’s blog is devoted to Coronavirus: There’s no point in my talking about anything else
My mantra: Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane. Courage!
It’s bad enough to have to worry about avoiding getting sick from Coronavirus, but now we have to worry about making our pets sick too.
My pet food mantra: more research needed!
Food connects to everything, even to Covid-19. Here’s how.
The Los Angeles Times asked for a comment of sharing food. Here’s what I told the reporter (the article quotes some of this):
Depends on how paranoid you are. So far, there is no evidence that Coronavirus can be transmitted by food but I suppose it is theoretically possible. Someone who has the virus but doesn’t show symptoms could cough or sneeze or handle raw foods. If you handle the foods before cooking them, you could pick up the virus.
Cooking should kill the virus (don’t re-use the bag the foods came in). Salad greens should always be washed, even prewashed, even salads that come pre-bagged.
As for salad bars: they usually have glass or plastic screens and long handled spoons. Again, contamination is possible but unlikely. If such things worry you, the remedy is easy: cook the food and eat it while it’s hot.
Some of the CDC’s advice about Coronavirus relates to food.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.
CDC’s advice about preparedness says what to do if you are ill. Basically, stay home.
General information about Coronavirus also is available from the World Health Organization. It doesn’t say anything about sharing food but recommends standard hygiene procedures for food handling and preparation—wash hands, cook meat thoroughly, and avoid cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods (see WHO website).
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says there is no evidence that that food is a source or transmission route for Coronavirus.
The FDA has issued warnings to individuals and companies making unsupported claims for Covid-19 cures, one of them to the TV evangelist Jim Bakker (he hawks supplements of colloidal silver). Warning letters went to the Jim Bakker Show, as well as Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC.
Finally, a survey finds that one-third of shoppers in the U.K. are stockpiling food in preparation for siege by Coronavirus.
Enjoy your meals while all this is going on!
Food politics connects to everything and Coronoavirus is no exception. I’ve been collecting items.
For starters, Coca-Cola gets its artificial sweeteners from China. Oops. Its supply chain is now disrupted.
Production and exports have been delayed for Coke’s suppliers of sugar alternatives used in the company’s diet and zero-sugar drinks, Coca-Cola disclosed Monday as part of its annual report.
“We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays…However, we may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”
The primary artificial sweeteners Coca-Cola (KO) uses in its products include aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate and steviol gylcosides.
In its annual report, Coca-Cola indicated that it considered sucralose a “critical raw material” sourced from suppliers in the US and China. Splenda, a sucralose product used in Diet Coke with Splenda, is made in the US and not sourced from China.
This worries you? Join the hoarders. Some people are trying to make sure they have a 14-day supply of food in case they get quarantined. This situation has gotten so out of hand that stores are running out of food.
The FDA wants everyone to calm down. It has a web page on what’s happening with supply chains. Most of this is about the supply of pharmaceuticals made in China, but here’s what it says about food:
We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.
It’s hard to calm down if the situation affects you. The organizers of Food Expo West, the natural products show scheduled for Anaheim, says COVID-19 fears could cut Expo West attendance by as much as 60% (the article links to official and unofficial lists of companies that have pulled out).
But every crisis has winners as well as losers. The possible winners here? Food delivery companies (as long as they can get supplies).
Update 3/3: Expo West has been postponed.