WASHINGTON – In a joint statement from the USDA and FDA, both Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., reaffirmed that there is no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from food or from food packaging.

The agencies released the statement following news earlier this week that the Chinese government banned poultry products from Tyson Foods’ Springdale, Ark., plant due to virus concerns.

“The United States understands the concerns of consumers here domestically and around the world who want to know that producers, processors and regulators are taking every necessary precaution to prioritize food safety especially during these challenging times,” Perdue and Hahn said. “However, efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission.”

On June 24, Reuters reported that Tyson Foods signed a certification by the Chinese government saying meat shipments are free of COVID-19.  Brazilian-based meat producers JBS SA and Minverva also signed a certification.

In November 2019, China lifted a four-year ban on poultry from 172 US-based plants that began as a response to a 2015 outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) resulting in the culling of 50 million birds in the United States. The United States was declared HPAI free in 2017.