The entire world is fighting hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 and many countries are still on partial lockdown. Government authorities are trying their level best to ensure a steady supply of essential to the public during these testing times. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that has triggered this COVID-19 pandemic, causes the infectious microbes to survive up to 72 hours on certain surfaces. Hence it is necessary to take extra precautions while handling groceries to lower the risk of exposure.
Though people are mostly confined at home, except for essential activities like medical care or shopping for groceries, it is imperative to take extra care and measures while handling groceries to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease to other people and surfaces.
Food safety and handling is the matter of prime concern right now. People are trying various methods such as washing the fruits and vegetables in soap or detergent before usage, which may not be the right way. There is no clear-cut evidence so far available to prove that coronavirus spreads through food. This article gives you an insight about the precautions and guidelines one should follow to keep food germ-free.
Precautions While Shopping:
- When you are buying essentials at the supermarket ensure to stay at least 6 feet away from other people at all times.
- Touch items that you want to buy, disinfect the cart or basket handles with disinfectant wipes and sanitize your hand with hand sanitizer once you have done with the shopping. Also Read: Global Handwashing Day 2019: The Importance Of Sanitizing For Healthier Living
Cleaning Groceries And Vegetables:
Whatever may be the mode of getting your groceries you have to handle them safely when you bring them at home, this will minimise the chance of virus transmission to people or surfaces in your house.
- Wipe or wash cans or food boxes before storing to minimise virus content and also discard out the disposable packaging.
- Soon after stocking clean the tables, countertops or any other surfaces that were touched by groceries or grocery bags. Also Read: COVID-19: This Is How You Clean & Disinfect Your Home To Prevent Coronavirus
- Wash hands after unpacking and setting away your groceries.
- Cloth bags used to buy groceries should be washed with detergent soap and properly dried before reusing them.
- Before washing produce, wash your hands, even if you are going to rinse vegetables, it is essential to clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, before cleaning fruits and vegetable produce.
- Vegetables and fruits purchased from the supermarket should be rinsed in running water, then rub them thoroughly with hands.
- Cut any bruised or damaged part of fruits or vegetables and rinse thoroughly under running water without using any chemical washers.
- The FDA recommends, to rinse fruits and vegetables before you peel to get rid of dirt and invisible germs from the knife on to the produce.
- Do not use any soap or detergent. According to the FDA, it is a myth that soap or any special liquid is needed to clean produce. However, it is important to gently rub produce while rinsing under plain running water.
- When cleaning root vegetables like potato or carrots, melons, cucumbers use a scrub or brush especially for that, to remove the dirt.
- Dry the washed vegetables and fruits with a paper towel or clean cloth before storing them in the refrigerator.
- Remember to clean the cutting board, countertops and utensils with hot and soap water- especially after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
- Cook the food thoroughly at the optimal temperature to ensure that germs are killed.