Can noroviruses be transmitted through food?


Food Borne Illness - Norovirus -CDC Photo

In winter, an increase in norovirus cases can be expected, as the infection is called the winter plague in some languages ​​(eg vinterkräksjuka in Swedish). The main symptoms of norovirus infection are malaise, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.

The virus is highly contagious and only a few viruses are needed to cause infection. Noroviruses can be transmitted through food from people who are ill or have recently been ill with norovirus. There are examples of norovirus being transmitted through food in Iceland and abroad, such as frozen raspberries, oysters and food from restaurants. Such infections can cause group infections.

For example, the consumption of frozen raspberries caused a widespread norovirus infection in Denmark a few years ago. Subsequently, the Danes established rules that frozen raspberries should be heated before consumption, and such instructions can often be seen on packaging.

But how can the virus be prevented from spreading to food at home, in canteens, restaurants and other food businesses?

  • The production, cooking and serving of food should be avoided during illness and for at least 48 hours. after the symptoms are over.
  • Wash hands before handling food.
  • Wash hands before eating
  • Offer options for hand disinfection at the buffet.
  • Prevent utensil handles from coming into contact with food.
  • Food companies have clear rules regarding staff illness and their return.

The risk of norovirus being transmitted through food can be reduced if these guidelines are followed.

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