Photo by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on Unsplash

There isn’t any report at this time that suggests that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food, or food packaging, and again, the risks are low, experts said.  But a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that scientists found that coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19) was detectable up to 24 hours on cardboard, aerosols for up to 3 hours, up to 4 hours on copper, and up to 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel. So, here are tips on how to minimize our risk when grocery shopping….

Check also Adjusted Store Hours of Supermarkets & Grocery Stores during Community Quarantine

The first rule, of course, is to be a responsible citizen!  Don’t go to the grocery store if you are feeling sick, or if you have even a very mild, cold-like symptoms – runny nose, congestion, sore throat – or flu-like symptoms.

The greatest risk when grocery shopping is from touching a shopping cart, or basket. Be prepared and bring along a pair of disposable gloves with you. Put them on before touching the shopping cart or basket.  If you don’t have disposable gloves, use the plastic bags provided by the supermarket’s fresh produce and meat section. Just make sure you dispose of them and not leave them in the cart.  You can also bring a hand sanitizer or alcohol with you, and clean the cart or basket handles, if you don’t have disposable gloves.

While inside the store, be mindful, and do your best not to touch your face, your phone or bag (if you  need to touch your phone or bag, use a hand sanitizer or alcohol before doing so).

Touch-move!  If you touch it, you buy! So think and decide before you touch!

Don’t forget to keep physical distance (2 meters at minimum) with other shoppers or store staff.  Offer to bag your own groceries, to minimize touching by other individuals.  Use credit cards, not cash.

Proper and frequent hand washing remains a critical step in reducing the spread of COVID-19. After returning home and before preparing or eating food, wash your hands thoroughly with clean water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Wash lettuces and leafy greens thoroughly under running water. Potatoes, carrots and some fruits could be washed with a scrub and a small amount of soap and water (be gentle with softer produce).  Other popular rinses such as vinegar and lemon are not known to be effective at killing viruses. COVID-19 is an “enveloped virus,” meaning that it is covered in an oily membrane. Plain soap is very effective at disrupting the oil on surfaces, and water is effective at removing and rinsing away the virus.

Wipe containers (made of glass, plastic, aluminum) with a soapy cloth or a disinfectant wipe before you put the items in your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator.

Sanitize surfaces! Sanitize the counter; the doorknobs and handles; light switches; your phone – anything you’ve touched since returning from the grocery store. Don’t forget the steering wheel and the door handle of your car.

Watch the video of  Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen below for more safety tips.

Sources:
foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu
hsph.harvard.edu

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