Go Ahead and Worry—But Science Says Your Food Is Safe

Let’s make one thing clear: Our food is safe. Health authorities assure us that the basic food supply is fit for consumption if we all use common sense practices as the produce gets from field to fork or from barn to takeout bag.

Yes, the headlines are enough to get even the most intrepid citizen nervously uttering, “What, Me Worry?” Plant closings, vegetables rotting in fields, milk dumped on the ground, and food workers suffering from an alarming rate of coronavirus. The food supply chain faces unprecedented challenges, but it is worth remembering that the food is not contaminated.

Farmers, laborers, truckers, processors, store clerks, management executives, and others are working hard to keep food available. Underlying all the problems is the key point:  We do not need to worry about the safety of our food. Science shows that COVID-19 is not passed along by food products, and health officials have specified many procedures to assure the quality of the food.

The following links include a few of the many recent articles that examine challenges facing the food supply chain—and reports showing that our food is safe if we follow basic practices:

The CDC provides general food safety information with a focus on the current coronavirus issue. 

The USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.  

Cornell University scientists provide food safety recommendations, and they answer frequently asked questions for consumers.

This Kansas State University site provides food safety information and points out that there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food

North Carolina State University experts also cover the coronavirus issue, and this page focuses on food safety.   

Governors in the Midwest are working to keep large meatpacking plants operating despite coronavirus outbreaks. Farmers and farm workers are giving input about the virus and food safety, and many are looking into how to protect those who are providing us with safe food. There are heroes across the food supply chain working hard to get the job done. 

For more science-based information about food and agriculture, access many free CAST publications, and keep up with regularly updated CAST blog posts, social media entries, and the organization’s weekly newsletter, Friday Notes.

Top picture from livingplate.org and bottom graphic from euroleague-study.org.

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