Coronavirus: A food safety database to fight fake news


An easy-to-read database containing good practices, insights and 'science approved' guidelines to offer the world of research, businesses and consumers proper information on food safety and combat fake news during the COVID-19 emergency.

This is the objective of the research infrastructure METROFOOD-RI (Infrastructure for Promoting Metrology in Food and Nutrition), coordinated by ENEA, which comprises over 2200 researchers from 48 of the major institutions of 18 European countries involved in the fields of food safety, quality, traceability of food, fight against fraud, sophistication and counterfeiting, health impacts, fight against hunger and waste.

Among the latest fake news refuted by science are, for instance, the anticovid-19 properties of water and salt gargles [1], proteinized silver [2] ] or vaseline applied on the nostrils.

On the METROFOOD-RI portal - included in the Roadmap ESFRI 2018 for the domain Health and Food – the ENEA researchers collect official documents, scientific publications, factsheets, recommendations and best practices available in different languages, with the aim of providing constantly updated insights useful for analyzing the links between coronavirus and food throughout the food chain, from primary production to final consumption.

It is an actual in-depth section on COVID-19 divided into two sections, based on user type: "Research, Inspection & Control" and "Production & Consumption".

"Although there is no scientific evidence of the transmission of the virus through food consumption, at this moment it is crucial to promote correct information to producers and consumers on health, food safety and the fight against waste", Claudia Zoani, researcher at the ENEA Biotechnology and Agro-industry Division and METROFOOD-RI coordinator pointed out. According to the expert, a diet rich in nutraceutical substances can promote a better response of the immune system against the virus, optimizing the body's response to infections.

"Following a healthy and balanced diet rich in nutrients and nutraceuticals and good preparation, storage and consumption practices, maintaining the nutritional properties of foods and avoiding contamination, making prudent purchases and following appropriate conservation procedures to avoid food waste, are all behaviors that can make the difference", Zoani concluded.

On the other hand, fostering a greater knowledge on contamination mechanisms on different surfaces can be crucial to avoid the so-called "cross contamination" and the onset of other diseases while, as concerns the fight against waste, shopping prompted by emotions is highlighted. The researchers participating in METROFOOD-RI have also launched a campaign on social media (, to inform as many users as possible, provide useful information and answer questions from producers and consumers.

But ENEA's commitment to convey proper scientific information in the fight against coronavirus is just a click away: on May 26 from three p.m to six p.m. ENEA will participate in the thematic webinar cycle on "Communication in the time of the pandemic ", organized by the Department of Communication and Social Research" of the Sapienza University of Rome.

"1PlanetHealth", the proposal submitted by ENEA to #EuVsVirus, an hackathon organized by the European Commission to identify innovative solutions, tools and technologies to fight the pandemic, goes along the same lines.

“This is a new ICT platform, created thanks to the support of our CRESCO6 supercomputer and OBSERBOT and CIPcast softwares, capable of identifying fake news on #COVID19: the aim is to support policymakers, inspection and control agencies and citizens in this challenge especially in the sectors of health, the environment, food safety and sustainability ”,  Zoani explained.


For more information please contact:
Claudia Zoani, ENEA - Biotechnology and Agro-industry Division, METROFOOD-RI coordinator,

For more information on 1planethealth:

For more information on the webinar:,




Filed under: