The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources today urged Filipinos to strictly observe proper food handling in the kitchen as an added measure against COVID-19.
“[F]or the safety of consumers, it is advised that proper food handling practices be observed at all times,” the bureau said in a statement. Goods wrapped in plastic or packaging brought from the market should be disinfected with alcohol or a 0.5% bleach solution, as advised by the Health Department, while fresh foodstuff should be washed under clean running water before being stored.
Apart from proper food prep, the bureau urged that “food must also be cooked thoroughly and kept at safe temperatures before consumption.”
The bureau’s statement comes after traces of the coronavirus was spotted in frozen food imports in the Chinese cities of Xian and Shenzen earlier this week. Despite this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has downplayed the findings, saying that there is currently “no evidence” that coronavirus can be transmitted through food.
“People should not fear food or food packaging or the processing or delivery of food…There is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in the transmission of this virus,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said in a press briefing yesterday.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Spokesman, Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes told Coconuts Manila in a call that it stands by WHO’s findings, but said that ultimately, “the Department of Health has the final say on whether or not frozen pork, beef, or seafood imports are contaminated with COVID-19. Apart from that incident in the Chinese port, no other country has reported about it, and the WHO doesn’t consider the virus transmissible in frozen products.”
Reyes added that the DA is largely focused on monitoring pork products for other viruses, “specifically swine flu and other diseases, these are checked physically and through tests as the imports come through Customs, but as far as COVID-19 is concerned, we have yet to detect it in imports.”