On December 31, 2019, the first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in Wuhan, China. Since this time, COVID-19 has become of international concern, spreading to more than 25 countries, although the majority of cases remain in China.
Due to the widespread outbreak of the virus in China, there is a possibility the region’s food additives industry will be impacted. Food manufacturers may find that the supply of some ingredients, such as amino acids and certain vitamins, may be affected as a result. However, suppliers located outside of China report a ready supply to ensure minimal disruption to end users during this time.
Currently, COVID-19 has not made an impact on food safety in the U.S. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no evidence as to the association of COVID-19 transmission to food or food packaging, including imported goods such as food and drugs for animals and pets. There have also been no cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. associated with imported goods. As a result, FDA states there is no reason for concern.
Moving forward, the International Food Additives Council recommends food and food additive manufacturers keep up to date on COVID-19 and individually analyze its potential impact on ingredient supplies, seeking out alternative solutions where COVID-19 poses a potential risk. Following are additional resources from global health, scientific, and regulatory authorities.
- World Health Organization: Q&A on coronaviruses
- U.S. FDA: Coronavirus Update: FDA steps to ensure quality of foreign products
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Q&A
- European Food Safety Authority: Coronavirus: no evidence that food is a source or transmission route
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Q&A on COVID-19
- BfR (Germany): Can the new type of coronavirus be transmitted via food and toys?
- Hong Kong Center for Food Safety: Advice on Prevention of Novel Coronavirus and FAQs
- Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: Q&A about new coronavirus (in Japanese)
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Novel Coronavirus and Food Safety