I am not sure where this has come from. It reminds me of fears I used to have about a disease long ago when I was a child. Anyway, on my way home from work I decided I would get some foods to cook. I got some green beans from Zimbabwe (Yep this where the fear is coming from). In the end I didnt cook them as I normally like to eat them raw. So I gave them a quick rinse and had eaten three when I thought; "Zimbabwe is in Africa, Ebola is in Africa, what if someone with Ebola touched or bled on this food and I am now eating it".
So now I am freaking out that I have contracted Ebola from the surface of my food. I know Ebola is not transmitted by the food itself, but it is theoretically possible that someone with Ebola touched the food and contaminated its surface. The only thing I cant seem to find out is how long Ebola can live in a chilled environment on a surface and then how long it takes for the food to get from Zimbabwe to my hands. This is of course assuming someone with Ebola even touched it. I know the odds of that are ridiculous but I wish I had some evidence to disprove my fears instead of trusting things to odds and statistics. So now I am seriously anxious I have managed to get Ebola, from some food, from Africa.
So here is information I found:
SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days (23). Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4°C for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70°C (6, 20). Infectivity can be preserved by lyophilisation.
This makes me more worried.
So if it can infect for several days on dried body fluids, assuming someone touched my food with Ebola it is possible for the food to be infectious. But in theory, it would take longer than a number of days to package, ship and distribute from Zimbabwe to Europe.
I dont know how cold -70°C or whether my food was ever at that temperature but I somehow doubt it.
Lyophilisation is the process of freeze drying. I dont know what effect that has on food or what it would look like but these seemed fresh enough.