There is no solid evidence that the virus could be transmitted through packaging surfaces.
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While the Covid-19 virus can survive on various surfaces from hours up to days, the Food Safety and Quality Department of the Ministry of Health (KKM) says there is not enough evidence that points to plastic or cardboard surfaces of food packaging causing an infection.
Instead, studies found that Covid-19 is transmitted mainly through close physical contact and respiratory droplets.
What WHO says
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Cleaning and Disinfection of Environmental Surfaces in the Context of Covid-19 Interim Guidance published 15 May 2020 cited that the virus could remain viable on cloth and wood for 1 day, on glass for up to 2 days, on stainless glass and plastic for up to 4 days, and up to 7 days on the outer layer of a medical mask.
It also cited another study that found the Covid-19 virus survived 4 hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.
You can download the interim guide here.
Keep it clean
However, while both the KKMand the WHO agree that the virus can survive on surfaces and that there is no concrete evidence that food packaging can transmit it, the best thing to do is stay safe, be cautious, and maintain a high level of hygiene.
“Always wash your hands after removing food from the wrapper, wipe and clean the surface. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth when handling food and food packaging,” says KKM.
Sentiasa basuh tangan anda selepas mengeluarkan makanan daripada pembungkus, lap dan basmi permukaan tersebut. Elakkan daripada menyentuh mata, hidung atau mulut sewaktu mengendalikan makanan dan bungkusan makanan.— Bahagian Keselamatan dan Kualiti Makanan (@BKKMputrajaya) July 5, 2021
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