There’s no proof or indication that you can get coronavirus by eating cooked meat, despite a recent claim made by PETA. The claim is unfounded.
On February 19, PETA falsely tweeted that scientists “have a hunch” that people can get coronavirus through live animals or also through their “dead flesh.” On PETA’s website, it pointed to a New York Times article which suggested coronavirus originated from a live animal market, “where vendors legally sold live animals from stalls in close quarters with hundreds of others.”
However, there is no indication whatsoever that you can get coronavirus through eating cooked animal products. No scientists have stated this or even suggested a connection.
The World Health Organization does recommend that people take general precautions with the coronavirus: “Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.”
Similarly, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does recommend that people cook meat and eggs thoroughly. It does not give any indication or warning that buying meat in the United States could predispose you to coronavirus.
These recommendations are standard recommendations to prevent any disease, not just coronavirus. With that said, WHO does recommend that people take extra precautions around all foods that are internationally traded, noting, “As a general rule, the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, raw milk, or raw animal organs should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The PETA Tweet Connecting Meat & Coronavirus Was Met With Widespread Condemnation
On its website, PETA reiterated this claim about the connection between coronavirus and animal meat.
In response to this misleading tweet, many people immediately condemned PETA for inciting undue panic.
“I wish there was an option to report this,” one person tweeted. “You should be ashamed of yourselves. Yet another reason nobody takes you seriously as an organisation any more.”
Another person tweeted, “I support you PETA but this is totally inaccurate and stupid”
Still another person tweeted, “And peta is an anagram of EAT PETs coincidence I think not”
This isn’t the first time that the connection has been made, since the coronavirus became a global concern. On Feb. 2, foreign policy writer Molly McKew noted that “NoMeat_NoCoronaVirus” was trending globally.
She tweeted, “900,000 Indian-ish tweets on a religious-connected conspiracy that not eating meat will end/prevent coronavirus is a completely bonkers indicator of the information architecture built within Indian Twitter. It’s really something if you dig into those tweets. Not something good.”
Others have worried that the unfounded fears over coronavirus being passed through meat is indicative of a type of racism about perceived Chinese food practices. You can watch this video below to understand how western food consumption differs, in reality: