As part of the EIT’s Crisis Response Initiative, this activity directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manipulation of contaminated food surfaces of fresh food such as fruit and some vegetables might represent a serious risk of spreading coronavirus during postharvest handling and at the retail level. The use of edible coatings containing food-grade antiviral compounds such as polyphenols and alkaloids from herbal extracts, such as green tea, is a well-known approach that proved to be effective to ensure safety against significant food-relevant viruses such as and the hepatitis A virus and members of the Coronaviridae family. However, their activity against COVID-19 is yet to be proved, and they can introduce strong modifications of the organoleptic properties (colour, aroma, taste), which may limit the application in fruits and vegetables. The two objectives of this project are to develop an edible antiviral coating containing active herbal extracts to prevent COVID-19 surface contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables and, to assess its performance and consumers acceptance in a real scenario.