EFSA examines risk of Ebola transmission through food

| March 20, 2015

CDC/ Frederick A. Murphy

CDC/ Frederick A. Murphy

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a new report assessing the risk of Ebola virus transmission from consumption of raw foods – notably plants, fruit and vegetables – legally imported into the EU from countries in Africa.

To date there have been no reports of human infection with the virus from consumption of these foods and the EFSA expert group concluded from their risk assessment that there is no evidence that it could occur in Europe.

Transmission through food would require contamination at the point of origin; survival of the virus through the supply chain and infection occurring after foodborne exposure to viable virus. None of these conditions has ever been reported. However, the experts did identify some gaps in knowledge and data, including a lack of information on viral survival in food.

The report follows a previous risk assessment of Ebola transmission through illegally imported bushmeat, which concluded that the risk was low.

The full report can be accessed on the EFSA web site here.

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