Maine Whole Foods Announces Employees Test Positive for Covid-19: Are Customers Safe?
A Whole Foods in Maine recently issued a statement, revealing that a multitude of their employees tested positive for Coronavirus. They have not released information on how many employees tested positive for the virus, nor when they received the official diagnosis. The store has remained open while assuring customers they have taken action to diligently sanitize the store and quarantine those effected. Evidence from the CDC suggests that while customers may have become infected from person-to-person contact with the workers, it is highly unlikely that the food or food packaging will transmit the virus.
After studying transmission rates of Coronavirus and food, the CDC has found no link between handling and consuming food and contracting Coronavirus. Originally, scientists were concerned that Covid-19 could potentially be a foodborne illness, because the transmission methods were unknown. This was quickly ruled out, as the virus is most commonly spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets.
According to food poisoning lawsuit lawyer Ron Simon:
Still, according to local reports, consuemrs are not out of danger. Unfortunately, Coronavirus spreads very easily and sustainably between people, with transmission rates of the virus increasing per increased time spent together and increasing with decreased space between each other.
“this a different case than, say, Hepatitis A virus (HAV), where everyone who ate at a local restaurant where an employee thereafter tested positive for HAV needs to get vaccinated ot tested. Corona Virus does not seem to be spreading in prepared foods.”
However, it took longer for scientists to confirm whether or not the virus was transmittable from consumers touching surfaces contaminated with the surface, and subsequently touching their face. This is especially important when thinking about food safety, such as when handling fast food and groceries. At the present moment, the CDC theorizes there is no connection between handling food and food packages and Covid-19. While it is possible, transmission levels are extremely low for getting the virus by handling food and food packaging. In fact, the CDC currently has no knowledge of any cases of Coronavirus spreading from food nor food packaging. While cases have been reported spreading between food factory workers, it is much more likely the virus was spread from worker to worker through close contact.
Although current evidence suggests there is no evidence between transmission of the virus of food, it is still recommended to remain vigilant while handling food to avoid both the Coronavirus and other food borne illnesses. While good for the environment, reusable grocery bags are known to harbor food borne illness causing bacteria and should be properly cleansed after every use to avoid food poisoning. All surfaces, such as countertops, should be throughly sanitized after being in contact with groceries and hands should be washed as well to avoid any and all bacteria from grocery stores.