(NEXSTAR) — As COVID-19 sub-variants continue sweeping across the U.S., new research suggests that your body might not be the only place hosting the coronavirus.
Researchers studied the ability of two animal coronaviruses 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 that previous data shows coronaviruses can survive on even nonfrozen 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 that they think more data is needed.
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 result in the transfer of particles to meat, poultry and seafood during animal slaughter, processing, storage and transport.
The study’s authors said their data needs more backing but that they hope their findings will emphasize the need for more safety measures in food production and packaging.