IPC Statement Regarding COVID-19 and Poultry Meat Safety and Trade

20/08/2020

Poultry meat is an essential part of a nutritious diet for consumers globally and it remains safe to consume in the
pandemic era of COVID-19 whether produced domestically or imported from abroad. Food safety is of the highest
importance for the global poultry sector as all work to feed consumers globally. It is critical that governments and
the private sector work together to ensure food safety, ensure global food trade, and ensure consumer access to
safe and nutritious poultry meat.

Recent news of a finding of the COVID-19 virus associated with an imported poultry wing in China, of which the
specific details are still to be released, have resulted in inaccurate information being written regarding the safety
of imported poultry product.

First of all, to-date, no single case of transmission of COVID-19 via food packaging or food itself has been recorded.
It is important to specify that the detection of genetic material belonging to the COVID-19 virus is not an index of
infectivity of the package or product sampled, but only that the tested surface has come into contact with viral
material that may not be, alive, viable and infectious. Inactive fragments of the virus may remain on surfaces, but
these inactive fragments cannot transmit COVID-19 and most tests cannot differentiate between inactive noninfectious virus fragments and viable virus. Therefore, caution in the interpretation of test results is required.

In accordance with the current WHO, FAO, OIE, Codex and WTO scientific understanding regarding COVID-19, this
serious disease is not a food safety issue, but a respiratory illness and its primary route of transmission is personto-person via respiratory droplets. The virus cannot multiply in food and it does not affect poultry, it can only infect
people when present in its intact form.

Currently, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted by food or by meat, whether fresh or
frozen. Nevertheless, the food industry continues to practice stringent food safety procedures to ensure safe food.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) procedures that are in place globally are a systematic
preventive approach to food safety biological risks, including the COVID-19 virus.

The poultry industry is fully committed to ensuring the highest level of safety at each step from the farm to the
consumer, while providing for the safety of its workers, and for the continuous supply to consumers globally of
high-quality protein. Attached, also is the IPC document regarding the current science, “COVID-19: Scientific
Status and Ensuring Safety”.

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