EFSA assesses the risk of transmission of Ebola through food
Posted: 25 March 2015 | Victoria White | No comments yet
There is no evidence that the Ebola virus can be transmitted through food in the European Union, according to EFSA scientists…
There is no evidence that the Ebola virus can be transmitted through food in the European Union, according to EFSA scientists.
A recent report, ‘An update on the risk of transmission of Ebola virus (EBOV) via the food chain – Part 2’, assesses the risk of Ebola transmission from the consumption of raw foods – such as plants, fruits and vegetables – legally imported into the EU from African countries.
To date there have been no reported human cases of Ebola infection from the consumption of these foods.
For the virus to be transmitted though food, several steps are necessary; none of these has ever been reported. The exported food should be contaminated at the point of origin; the food would need to contain a viable virus (“capable of surviving”) when it arrives into the EU; the person has to be infected following foodborne exposure.
Length of time Ebola virus survives in food still unknown
In their risk assessment, EFSA experts identify several knowledge and data gaps – for example for how long the virus could survive in food.
This report has been developed by EFSA scientists and external experts, including two from the World Health Organization.
In a previous report EFSA scientists assessed the risk of transmission of Ebola through bushmeat illegally imported into Europe from Western and Central Africa, concluding that this was low.