Viruses in food – in the light of the new coronavirus pandemic

Authors: Diána Bánáti


In the relation to the 2019-2020 years pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), this manuscript compiles a summary of the characteristics, mode of transmission and economic significance of human pathogen viruses related to food and food chain safety. In the initial period of the pandemic, it was uncertain whether SARS-CoV-2 could be spread through food. All major European and world food safety and epidemiological organizations (EFSA, WHO, CDC, FDA, etc.) claim that SARS-CoV-2 does not spread through food. However, we know that the virus is stable in aerosols and on certain surfaces for a few hours to days (up to 3 days). At the same time, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on food, nutrition, health, the environment, and the entire food network are very diverse, which the author briefly reviews.



VOL. 66, 2020 JUNE. 30.



Welcome 2020/2


Dear Readers,

We have been fighting COVID-19 for four months now, and we have spent months in quarantine, barely meeting our colleagues. Despite this, the first “quarantine” issue of ÉVIK was a great success, the virus could not pose an obstacle to science and professional cooperation. Our thoughts and messages flowed freely through the electronic space, our professional contacts were preserved and we were able to work. In the words of Hungarian poet, Margit Szécsi „The world has been closed, but I am free, The cell of consciousness is my room. The bars of my bone have shut evil out. They have closed the world, but I am free1.”


The leading material of our scientific journal, fittingly, is a manuscript written by Diána Bánáti, discussing the connections between viruses, the food economy and food safety. In her work, the most important knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus is reviewed, but viruses are also mentioned, among other things, that can spread directly through certain foods. Although, to the best of our knowledge, the new type of coronavirus does not spread through food, but the global pandemic caused by it has had and will have an impact on both the international food economy and food safety. 


In Issue 2020-1 of ÉVIK, an article of Árpád Ambrus et al. was published on the contamination of domestic food raw materials with pesticide residue. Now, as a continuation of that paper, our readers can read about the mycotoxin contamination detected in domestically grown food and feed raw materials. According to the authors, some consumers, especially infants, young children and adolescents, should expect toxin intakes to be higher than the aflatoxin and DON levels which are still considered to be acceptable. The data published in the manuscript are also used by the experts of the National Demography Roundtable when developing their recommendations related to the topic. 





Dr. Tamás János Szigeti


1Margit Szécsi: Vigiling


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Food safety assessment of the mycotoxin and pesticide residue  contamination of our foods, Part 2. Mycotoxins

Authors: Árpád Ambrus, Júlia Szenczi-Cseh, Tamás Griff, Kata Kerekes, Gabriella Miklós, Adrienn Vásárhelyi, Tamás János Szigeti

The occurrence, legal regulation, quality requirements for sampling and analysis of mycotoxins occurring in food and feed in Hungary are presented. Furthermore, the current practice is evaluated. To complement the test results of NÉBIH, the WESSLING Hungary Ltd. and the University of Kaposvár provided detailed analytical results for the assessment of consumers’ exposure. Besides, the BIOMIN Ltd. and the SGS Hungária Ltd. shared their annual summary data, the Gabona Control Ltd. made available partial test results for preparing this paper. Based on the available data and information, the exposure of Hungarian consumers to Aflatoxin M1 and DON is estimated, and recommendations are made for facilitating the actions aiming to reduce the contamination of our food. Taking into account the extensive national test results and international information, we concluded that: the exposure of consumers to Aflatoxin M1 and DON may exceed the toxicological reference values from time to time, posing a risk to consumers’ the health; there is a need for coordinated comprehensive actions by all interested parties for the reduction of Aspergillus and Fusarium fungi infections in cereals and the resulted toxin exposure.

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Research and Development of Production Technology for Ethnic Functional Product «Red Cottage Cheese»

Authors: Guzel Alkhamova, Aleksandr Lukin

The technology of “Red Cottage Cheese” production is deeply rooted in the past of the Turkic people. “Red Cottage Cheese”, with its creamy caramel flavor, has long been considered a delicacy. The Turkic people cooked “Red Cottage Cheese” by a long-term simmering of the mixture of whole milk and a fermentation agent in order to obtain a curd clot, and then adding sugar and butter. The aim of the research is to develop a new technology for the production of the ethnic functional product “Red Cottage Cheese”. To develop this new cottage cheese product, we used skim milk, fermentation agent, and stevioside.

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Preparation of prebiotics by lactose-malic acid and lactose-citric acid reaction

Authors: Zsófia Zurbó, János Csapó

Prebiotics are indigestible food components that serve as nutrients for bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the colon. Dietary fiber and oligosaccharides are typical prebiotics, therefore, prebiotics were prepared in our experiments by reacting lactose with malic acid and citric acid at the right concentration and for the right length of time at the optimal temperature. The ideal parameters of the reaction were determined, as well as the consumption of the starting materials and the increase in the concentration of the final product, and the total sugar content of the hydrolyzed prebiotic after hydrochloric acid hydrolysis. In vitro experiments have shown that the final product prepared by us is resistant to carbohydrate degrading enzymes (which is a basic requirement for a prebiotic) and thus can serve as a nutrient for the probiotic bacteria living in the colon.

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Udder health investigations in a Hungarian Fleckvieh small-scale herd, related to food safety

Authors: Dóra Bekő, Péter Póti, László Bárdos, Ágnes Sramek, Ferenc Pajor

Data about the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the udders of Hungarian Fleckvieh cows and about their milk quality parameters is fairly lacking. The aim of this research was to evaluate the prevalence of mastitis pathogens in Hungarian Fleckvieh milk. This study was carried out in a small-scale (n=20) dairy farm in Pest county, Hungary.  The cows were milked twice a day in a milking parlor with three stalls. Milk samples were taken from cows at similar stages of lactation and of similar age (n=14) three times during the lactation (beginning, midpoint and end of lactation) from udder quarters (n=168) at the beginning of milking for analyzing pathogenic udder bacteria, and from fully milked udders (n=42) for analyzing milk composition and somatic cell count. The 42 milk samples were divided into four groups by the type (minor or major) and prevalence of the pathogenic bacteria by udder quarter: 1 – all four udder quarters negative; 2 – minor pathogenic bacterial species in one udder quarter; 3 – minor pathogenic bacterial species in two, three or four udder quarters; 4 – major pathogenic bacterial species detected regardless of the case count. It was determined that the mean somatic cell count was 123 thousand cells/ml, moreover pathogenic udder bacterial species have been found in 31% (n=52) of the milk samples. In the investigation the mastitis pathogen most frequently encountered was coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CNS), which was present in two thirds of the positive samples (n=33). Of the major udder pathogens, Streptococcus uberis (n=13) and Staphylococcus aureus (n=2) were detected in the 168 samples. When major pathogenic bacterial species were detected even in one udder quarter, it significantly affected the mean somatic cell count of the milk of Fleckvieh cows. The elimination of pathogenic and spoilage bacteria is important not only from a food safety point of view, but it is also of paramount importance for the production of high quality milk products. Based on our results, milk with a low somatic cell count and of favorable quality can be produced when compliance with appropriate hygienic practice is ensured under small-scale farm management conditions.

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Mineral content of foodstuffs: osmium in foodstuffs

Authors: András S. Szabó
This paper – as a part of a series of articles about minerals after the former article about palladium – deals with topics of toxic trace elements. In the paper information is given about a new microelement (osmium), belonging to the platinum group metals.

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Review of national standardization

Authors: Anna Szalay


The following Hungarian standards are commercially available at MSZT (Hungarian Standards Institution, H-1082 Budapest, Horváth Mihály tér 1., phone: +36 1 456 6893, fax: +36 1 456 6841, e-mail:, postal address: H-1450 Budapest 9., Pf. 24) or via website:


Published national standards from March 2020 to May 2020

07.100.20 Water microbiology 

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Local Panorama 2020/2

Authors: Gábor Szunyogh

Analysing disinfectants 
As the corona virus started to spread, several cosmetics companies began to produce water-alcohol products. What are these solutions composed of, what guarantees their efficacy and how are they analysed? 

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Outlook 2020/2

Author: Gábor Szunyogh


Pesticide residues in food: the latest trends can be followed using an internet data sheet
EFSA has published its annual report on pesticide residues found in food in the European Union. The report is based on data from the official national control activities carried out by EU Member States, Iceland and Norway and includes both targeted and random sampling.

Ochratoxin A in food: public health risks assessed
EFSA has published a scientific opinion on public health risks related to the presence of ochratoxin A (OTA) in food naturally produced by moulds that can be found in a variety of foodstuffs including cereals, preserved meats, fresh and dried fruit, and cheese.

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