Wash your hands, not your food.
As the world continues its fight against Covid-19 using the only two tools at its disposal currently: social distancing and washing hands repeatedly, there is a lot of confusion.
Among other obvious things, the confusion is primarily because of the occasional lack of information and the consistent flow of unreliable information. Due to this, even the simplest of chores, which the people took for granted in normal times (remember those days!), like grocery shopping has become stressful.
Surely by now, every aware person must have learned about the general protocol to be followed while inside a grocery store! Just in case you didn’t know what preventive measures you should follow while inside a grocery store, here’s a quick recap:
- Keep your distance
- Bring a paper list
- Get in and get out as quickly as possible
But the big question remains, what do you need to do once you bring your groceries home? Or how should you handle the groceries? And more importantly, should you be wiping down every piece of item you buy in your grocery shopping adventures?
Here is a quick list of the steps you should be following for safely handling your food:
One sec, disclaimer: (duh! Is there anything without a disclaimer these days?) The guidelines or the protocol listed below may change as the situation progresses. This information is current at the time of publishing it. And it will be updated as the situation develops.
So first things first,
Can the coronavirus be transmitted via food or food packaging?
No evidence thus far suggests that this virus can be transmitted via food or food packaging. Well, that’s the short answer. The fact supporting this answer is that so far, experts have reasons to believe the person-to-person is the primary form of transmission of COVID-19 and not food or food containers.
The FDA said
, “This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food”
Therefore it becomes all the more vital that you follow the proper protocol every time you go to the store.
This brings this discussion to the second most popular question related to grocery shopping
Do you need to wipe down your food?
As per FDA recommendations, you don’t need to wipe down either the food or the container, for protection against the novel coronavirus.
However, they do prescribe washing your hands. That is after you return from the store and handled the groceries (a good suggestion virus or no virus.)
Of course, everyone has seen those infamous viral videos where people are going to great lengths to disinfect their groceries. However, none of these methods is official FDA recommendations. But, for your own peace of mind, you can wipe down the containers and wait for them to dry
There is a consensus among the experts that if it makes you feel better, you can wipe down non-porous containers These include cans and you can use a disinfectant wipe. You can also remove bags of cereal from their cardboard boxes.
While talking to NPR, Dr. David Aronoff, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said: “the vast majority of virus is no longer infectious” after 24 hours. And from studies, it has been concluded that coronavirus “is trace or undetectable on most surfaces” after 72 hours.
Hence washing your hands is your most robust weapon against the virus. And if you are not going to touch your food for a day or two? Well, in that case, you don’t necessarily need to wash your packages of food.