Food and Covid-19: Is Our Food Safe?

Worried about catching Covid-19 from your food? The good news is that the consensus among scientists is that the risk of catching Covid-19 from your food is very low.

However, research into the behaviour of the virus in different environmental conditions has yielded some interesting results. Scientists were already aware that freezing rarely destroys viruses; freezing tends to preserve the virus so it is still virulent once defrosted. We now know that refrigeration is also not a viable way to destroy Covid-19. So what else can we use to kill the virus?

Photo: Gabriella Clare Morino/Unsplash

There are some well-known practices, such as using high temperatures, and high or low pHs (<3 or >12), however when it comes to disinfecting fresh produce, these are rarely practical due to the damage they would cause to the food. An alternative treatment that looks very promising is using UV light. The effectiveness of UV for killing pathogens on surfaces is well-documented.

At Vitabeam, we have taken this one step further. Our Steril Max combines UV, which kills pathogens only on the surface of a product, with our own unique combination of light wavelengths, which can penetrate the surface of a product and kill pathogens within the product, to provide a more complete disinfection of the product.

While we have completed testing of the Steril Max in terms of its capabilities of killing bacteria, we are yet to undertake tests to quantify its ability to kill viruses, including Covid-19. Nevertheless, our research indicates that techniques that kill bacteria, such as the Steril Max, usually also kill viruses, with a reduction in log kill of around 2. For example, just 5 minutes of treatment by the Steril Max has been proven to kill 99.9999% of MRSA, so we would expect to find that the Steril Max kills around 99.99% of Covid-19.

At Vitabeam, we are excited about the role that the Steril Max can play in the process of getting your food from the farm to your fork.

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