(NEXSTAR) — As COVID-19 sub-variants continue sweeping across the U.S., new research suggests your body might not be the only place hosting the coronavirus.
Researchers studied two animal coronaviruses’ ability to survive on various meats, including salmon, pork, chicken, and beef during both refrigeration and freezing for one month, according to the data published by the American Society for Microbiology’s journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Scientists say the viruses — which were used as surrogates in place of COVID-19, as they are all similar — had greater survival on beef and pork. Chicken and salmon, they write, had greater reductions.
While the main mode of transmission of COVID-19 is widely known to be respiratory, the researchers note previous data shows coronaviruses can survive on even non-frozen foods, like produce, and possibly infect someone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says food/food packaging transmission is unlikely, though the researchers write they believe more data is needed.
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So how would COVID-19 end up in meat?
Researchers write that living conditions in markets and slaughterhouses, in addition to meat processing plants, may transfer particles to meat, poultry, and seafood during animal slaughter, processing, storage, and transport.
The study’s authors say their data needs more backing, but they hope their findings will emphasize the need for more safety measures in food production and packaging.