vtuking

Here’s How to Clean Your Groceries During the COVID-19 Outbreak

 

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be viable for up to 72 hours on certain surfaces.

Taking extra care when handling your groceries can reduce your risk of exposure.

Experts say these simple steps can keep you safe.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub and follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has many people staying at home except for essential activities like seeking medical care, exercising, walking their dog, or shopping for groceries.

 

You can reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 whenever you leave your house by taking precautions such as practicing social distancing and washing your hands thoroughly and often.

 

Shopping for groceries, though, carries extra risk.

 

Not only are you near other people, but many of the products you’re buying have probably been handled by others — and possibly sneezed or coughed on.

 

This doesn’t mean you should give up on trips to the supermarket. That’s not really a viable option for most of us.

 

But you can take a little extra care when handling your groceries to avoid spreading the virus to other people and surfaces in your house.

 

How big of a risk are groceries?

Charlotte Baker, DrPH, MPH, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, said your biggest risk at the supermarket is coming into close contact with another person who’s sick.

 

That’s why it’s important to stay at least 6 feet from other people at all times.

 

“Do not be afraid to ask others to step back if they are too close to you in line,” said Baker. “Or wait a few moments to grab something if others are already by the item you want.”

 

It’s not clear, though, how much of a role produce and food packaging plays in transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Still, the World Health OrganizationTrusted Source says that in addition to close person-to-person contact, people can pick up the virus by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

 

Some surfaces may pose a bigger risk than others.

 

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the virus was detectable on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

 

Baker said when you’re at the supermarket, you should “assume all surfaces everywhere have been touched by someone who is sick.”

 

This includes produce and packaged foods.

 

“Touch just the items you intend to buy, wipe down the cart or basket handles with disinfectant wipes, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you’re done,” she said.

 

Baker added that many people are also reducing their potential exposure by using curbside pick-up or at-home delivery. Even local food producers are offering these services.

 

“Some farmers markets are allowing customers to preorder foods so they are already packaged when you come pick them up,” she said, “reducing the amount of time that you need to be near other people and reducing the amount of items that you can touch.”

 

HEALTHLINE RESOURCES

Until you get through this, count on our support

In difficult times, you need to be able to turn to experts who understand and can help strengthen your mental well-being. We’re here for you.

 

Cleaning your groceries at home

Whichever way you get your groceries, you’ll want to handle them carefully when you get them home. This will reduce the chance of spreading the virus to other people or surfaces in your house.

 

Elizabeth L. Andress, PhD, a professor of foods and nutrition at the University of Georgia, said at the very least you should wash your hands after unpacking and putting away your groceries.

 

If you’re concerned about potential contamination on your groceries, you can take additional steps to protect yourself.

 

“Some people may choose to wipe or wash cans and boxes of food before storing them to reduce possible virus content,” said Andress. You can also throw out disposable packaging.

 

When you’re done, she suggests that you wash any tables, countertops, or other surfaces that were touched by your groceries or grocery bags.

 

And wash your hands again.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers advice for cleaning and disinfecting your homeTrusted Source during the pandemic, including which cleaners work best against SARS-CoV-2.

 

If you’re using cloth bags, wash them with laundry soap in a washing machine and dry them thoroughly before reusing them.

 

The CDC recommendsTrusted Source that all people wear cloth face masks in public places where it’s difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. 

This will help slow the spread of the virus from people without symptoms or people who do not know they have contracted the virus. 

Cloth face masks should be worn while continuing to practice physical distancing. Instructions for making masks at home can be found hereTrusted Source. 

Note: It’s critical to reserve surgical masks and N95 respirators for healthcare workers

 

Cleaning food like a surgeon

If you or someone in your household is at higher risk for severe illnessTrusted Source from COVID-19, you might want to adopt the modified “sterile technique” recommended by Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a family physician practicing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in this YouTube video.

 

VanWingen said that one option is to leave your groceries in your garage or porch for at least 72 hours to allow the virus to become inactive.

 

This isn’t possible for many people. For them, he suggests the “sterile technique.” You can also do this after letting your groceries sit outside for 72 hours.

 

A key part of VanWingen’s method is setting up a cleaning station to avoid contaminating your food or other surfaces in your house.

 

After that, it involves wiping down all packaging with a disinfectant before putting your groceries away. You can also discard packaging and transfer the food to a clean bag or container.

 

For fruits and vegetables, VanWingen suggests scrubbing them for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

 

Andress cautions that the Food and Drug AdministrationTrusted Source doesn’t recommend using soap when cleaning produce because of the risk of ingestion.

 

So if you choose to use soap and water on your fruits and vegetables, rinse them completely with clean water before storing.

 

Taking these precautions with your groceries can help you lower your chance of being exposed to the virus.

 

If you do get sick, you’ll need to take extra care in order to protect your familyTrusted Source.

 

“If someone in your household is confirmed positive with COVID-19, showing symptoms of the disease, or awaiting the results of a test, they should take extra cleaning and disinfection steps around the home,” said Andress.

vtuking

21 Comments

  1. Reply

    Good

  2. Reply

    Thanks for sharing this info

  3. Reply

    Very helpful, thanks for sharing

  4. Reply

    This is awesome

  5. Reply

    Nice one

  6. Reply

    Good to know

  7. Reply

    Good

  8. Profile photo ofItz Kvng Twitch

    Reply

    Very interesting

  9. Reply

    This is really good and interesting to know

  10. Reply

    Thanks for the update

  11. Reply

    Read this news yesterday

  12. Reply

    Thanks

  13. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  14. Reply

    This will be very much helpful

  15. Reply

    impressive

  16. Reply

    Good article

  17. Reply

    This is cool,I will try it

  18. Reply

    It has been noted and will be practice

  19. Reply

    Good to know

  20. Reply

    Ok

  21. Reply

    Yah

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr> tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>