The coronavirus cannot be transmitted by food or food packaging, according to Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
Hahn addressed this topic Thursday evening during CNN’s global town hall on Covid-19.
“I can give great assurance that the American food supply is safe. We also very much care about our food workers, both in the retail and in the manufacturing setting. So it’s really important for folks to follow the CDC guidance in terms of protection. And to the question about getting infection, we have no evidence that the virus, the Covid-19 virus, is transmitted by food or by food packaging,” Hahn said.
Some context: Hahn’s comments come after Tyson Foods closed its largest pork plant as a growing number of workers become ill from coronavirus infections.
The plant, located in Waterloo, Iowa, had already slowed production because many of its 2,800 workers had been calling out sick. The Black Hawk County health department linked the Tyson plant to 182 of the county’s 374 Covid-19 cases. Last week, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart called for the Tyson facility to be shut down.
Those were all factors in Tyson’s decision Wednesday to indefinitely stop production at the Waterloo facility this week. The company will continue paying its employees while the facility is closed, and the plant’s 2,800 staff members will be invited to take Covid-19 tests later this week. The plant’s reopening will depend on several factors, including the outcome of the tests, the company said.
Later on Wednesday, Tyson announced it will also close another pork plant in Logansport, Indiana, by the end of this week.