Do Not Freak Out About Coronavirus on Frozen Chicken

Do Not Freak Out About Coronavirus on Frozen Chicken
Photo: Tim UR, Shutterstock

Chinese authorities recently found traces of the coronavirus on frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil. But experts don’t think food (frozen or otherwise) is a coronavirus threat worth worrying about.

As Maria van Kerkhove of the World Health Organisation noted at a press conference (reported here in Bloomberg), there are no known examples of somebody contracting COVID-19 from food. The CDC says that the “risk of getting COVID-19 from food, treated drinking water or food packaging is very low.”

The New York Times spoke to disease ecologist C. Brandon Ogbunu and virologist Angela Rasmussen, and summarized their responses by saying that “an extraordinarily unusual series of events would need to occur for the virus to be transmitted via a frozen meat product.”

There are viruses and bacteria that can be transmitted through food, but the virus that causes COVID-19 does not seem to be one of them. It’s an enveloped virus, meaning that it has a thin membrane, and that membrane is vulnerable to being destroyed by a lot of things — including the heat of cooking.

As a friendly reminder, you should be cooking all your raw chicken before you eat it anyway, and certainly washing your hands afterward. Keep doing that, and you should be fine.


  • FYI – recent outbreak in NZ was at Americold (a cold storage transport company)… and according to news articles, they are now doing tracing to see if any links back to sources at same company in AU.

    We are learning more at virus everyday… Even though it is very contagious airborne, it does live on surfaces… And freezing things essentially puts it into a state of hibernation.

  • I think it is wise to eat more vegetables for a while. And please all vegan haters and vegetables out there: calm your horses! Eat less meat as there is a risk that the virus might be there. We can all be back eating meat safely once we get some control over the pandemic.

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