There have been 195 cases of COVID-19 reported in India and if the pandemic is not contained, it is likely to cross a higher mark in the coming month. There is a lot of misinformation and panic, especially on the internet, which is forcing people to be very unnecessarily cautious.
The fear and panic around the virus spreading from bats is making people question whether they can eat meat or not. People are even switching to vegan and vegetarian alternatives. But does this really make sense? Is it causing COVID-19 or is it just a misconception?
1. Is It Safe To Eat Meat Right Now?
Coronavirus is a respiratory infection which spreads through droplets transmitted in the air. There is no specific connection as to how the novel coronavirus or any virus can stay on chicken, meat or seafood and make it unfit for consumption. The same goes for eggs. Just because the virus originated from a poultry market in Wuhan, China, it doesn't mean you have to give up on non-vegetarian, dairy, or poultry.
We spoke to Meghraj Bangera, the Brand Manager for Zorabian and he told us that the virus and meat have no correlation. "If you're following the protocol, then it's absolutely safe - there's no correlation between the virus and meat. Of course, there are rumours, on WhatsApp and other sites but those simply cause panic. It's absolutely safe to eat meat, but you also have to check the source from where you're buying it." he told us.
2. Which Is The Safest Source To Eat Meat From?
As long as you ensure that the food passes through necessary quality checks, is washed and cooked thoroughly, you can ensure that you are eating something that is safe for consumption. There is currently no evidence supported by the WHO that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.
According to Meghraj, Zorabian is a safe source and passes all the necessary quality checks. He laughed and added, "I am from Zorabian, so I would say our chicken." And continued, "We have our own farms, and we produce our own chicken - we don't buy chicken from outside and we don't process chicken as other brands do. So we know what the quality of the bird is, how we grow them, what measures we take to make sure that it's healthy and we can vouch for the fact that our chicken is good quality."
3. Are Poultry Sales Down Because Of These Rumours?
"I don't think so," Meghraj said "From our sales, we can say that it hasn't dropped, I'm not sure about other brands though. And I don't think people have stopped eating chicken or anything of the sort, but people have reduced shopping from livestock vendors though. Because there is a fear in the market right now that the source is not good, or that the quality is poor. But our business is doing better than usual, actually."
It is true that people have started consuming less livestock poultry in the fear that the chickens may be contaminated and people have switched to buying frozen meat. It is also because frozen meat is easier to stock up and easier to maintain.
So, according to research and the WHO - eating poultry has no risk. It will not infect or contaminate you with the virus as long as you can cook it properly with no raw bits. Other than that, there is no reason to worry about meat consumption in this period of time.