A new study has revealed Covid-19 can live on some ready-to-eat groceries for days, experts say.

The tests were carried out by the Food Standards Agency and saw the Sars-CoV-2 virus smeared on packaging and food, including fruit and bottle drinks, that people might put in their mouth without washing or cooking.

The results varied, with most foods showing a significant drop in levels of virus contamination within a day.

However, some foods, such as peppers, bread, ham and cheese, remained covered in the infectious virus for several days, while it was present for several hours on the surfaces of croissants and other pastry.


Scientists have advised that the risk to consumers remains very low though.

The study’s authors noted that foods and packaging used in the study were “artificially inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 and therefore are not a reflection of contamination levels found on these foods at retail, and lower levels of contamination will require less time to decline to undetectable levels”.

“The public may be interested in the finding that virus may persist in an infectious state, on foods and food packaging surfaces, for several days under certain common conditions.”

They added the results of the study “reinforce the need to rigorously follow the guidance on maintaining appropriate hygienic handling measures and display of unpackaged foods”.

It comes as the recent fall in the number of Covid-19 patients in England looks to have halted, with early signs that levels are starting to rise once more.

A total of 4,964 people testing positive for coronavirus were in hospital as of November 30, up 8% on the previous week, NHS England figures show.

Patient numbers had been on a downwards trend for just over a month after peaking at 10,688 on October 17.

But this decline appears to have levelled off, with figures for the last few days showing a small increase.