Through a notification dated 6 March 2020 the FSSAI has clarified the doubts regarding the safety of food items imported from countries where there has been an outbreak of Corona virus. FSSAI had constituted an Experts Committee to address the issue by examining the possibilities of the presence of corona virus in such food items.
The Committee in its report opined that as of now there is no conclusive evidence of food borne transmission of Corona virus. FSSAI has therefore, concluded that the imported food coming into India from Corona virus affected countries is safe for human consumption.
Corona virus predominately affects the respiratory system and spread from human to human by way of droplets while sneezing, coughing and through contaminated hands and surfaces. The Committee also agreed with the advisories of global organizations like the WHO, FAO, etc. that the predominant routes of transmission of Corona virus appear to be from human to human.
FSSAI also made the clarification that cooked meat from livestock, including poultry is safe to eat. As a precautionary measure, the Committee has advised all to follow good hygienic practices so as to avoid transmission of the Corona virus. In its press release the FSSAI has also advised against the consumption of raw or undercooked meat as well as unprocessed food products. Frozen food items must be consumed only after cooking them properly. Good hygienic practices must be followed before consuming raw fruits and vegetables.
FSSAI has also asked all Food Safety Commissioners to take appropriate steps to ensure that correct information gets disseminated to consumers and general public so as to counter the false propaganda, as that is likely to cause panic among the public.
The FSSAI is also keeping a close watch on the situation. It will continue to gather and monitor evidences from international agencies and scientific communities of any such transmission leading to Corona virus disease and will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of food products.