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Covid-19 Resource Center

Last updated: September 13, 2022

Since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, NCA has received numerous questions about the impact the pandemic could have on coffee: Is it safe to drink? Can the coronavirus be transmitted or contracted via coffee or coffee packaging? What about the U.S. food supply in general -- is it safe?

Coffee itself has never been considered a means of coronavirus transmission, and the risk of transmitting the virus via coffee packaging is extremely low, according to the CDC.

So no matter how you buy or brew your coffee, rest assured that America's favorite beverage is completely safe to drink.

Our full, always-up-to-date Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center is located here (NCA members only, log-in required.)

Questions and Answers for Consumers

Are coffee shops safe during covid?

Many coffee shops have taken extensive precautions to make sure that they are able to serve you safely including regular cleaning, socially distanced tables and queues, masks for employees, and more. use your best judgment to decide if the precautions at your coffee shop of choice fit your safety needs. if you’re a coffee business owner and want to make sure you are operating safely, we encourage you to download our reopening guidance

Does coffee protect you from Covid-19?

While far from conclusive, one recent study found that coffee drinkers were less likely than non-drinkers to test positive for covid-19. We prefer to see these kinds of findings appear in multiple studies before jumping to conclusions – but the findings are nonetheless interesting.

That said, numerous studies have found that coffee drinkers are generally at lower risk of developing severe disease than people who don't drink coffee. And please note – none of these studies were funded by this association.

Does drinking coffee affect a covid test?

The acidity in coffee and fruit juice can, theoretically, disrupt the chemistry of a coronavirus test. however, it is very unlikely that drinking coffee before a test would create a false positive in your test. In a study published in  microbiology spectrum a false positive was only discovered when coffee was placed directly on the testing tablet. coffee on a swab that had been processed through the testing solution was not able to produce a false positive. the limited amount of coffee that would be in your saliva after drinking coffee would be very, very unlikely to affect the result of your covid test.

Is it safe to buy and drink coffee right now?

Yes, it is safe to buy and drink coffee. Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.  It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. CDC notes that in general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. It is more likely that a person will be exposed by person-to-person transmission involving close contact with someone who is ill or shedding the virus.

Consumers can follow CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself, especially the advice on frequent hand washing  with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and frequent cleaning and disinfecting  of surfaces.  

If you are concerned about contamination of food and food packaging you have purchased from the grocery store, wash your hands after handling food and food packages when you return from the grocery store and after removing packaging from food. In addition, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness. FDA also has advice about safely selecting and serving raw produce.

Additional resources:

Additional reading: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/food-safety-and-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

How can I support my local coffee shops during the pandemic?

VIDEO: How to help local coffee shops survive coronavirus

Sprudge: See Support Coffee Companies And Buy Their Merch and Support Local Coffee Shops And Staff By Filling Their Virtual Tip Jars.

Are coffee filters good for covid masks?

In short: No! A study published in  Aerosol Science and Technology found that while coffee filters do filter droplets well, they offer poor protection due to the inability to adequately create a seal against the face. Using a coffee filter to protect against a virus is not recommended, especially as masks designed for medical use are now readily available.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal, health, or safety advice or guidance. The NCA makes no warranty of legal applicability or compliance and is intended solely for the directed recipient. You should not act upon any such information without first seeking qualified professional counsel on your specific matter.

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