The discovery was made by Peter Ben Embarek, the food scientist who led the WHO team that travelled to China to investigate the origin of the pandemic. In a statement, Embarek said: “We know that the virus can persist and survive in conditions that are found in these cold and frozen environments. But we don’t really understand if the virus can then transmit to humans.”
Per Embarek’s suggestions, scientists would do well to further study the potential routes of transmission, which include frozen meat and wild meat. Embarek even suggests that it’s these frozen packages that could have contributed to the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 last year at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China.
It’s a startling revelation, namely because it goes against what we’ve been told. Scientists have been telling us for months now that you catch COVID-19 primarily through the air - not surfaces, and that you don’t need to wipe down food packages.
There is some comfort though, in the sense that what most have outlined is that it’s the environment in which the food is packaged that makes all the difference. Your local ALDI or Coles isn’t going to offer up the same kind of conditions you might find at Xinfadi Market. So far, only warehouse workers and dockworkers receiving international packages have been possibly infected through these frozen packages.
So, while it seems highly likely that our frozen packages are safe from the virus, if you’re still worried about it, just wash your hands with soap and water.