4 Food Safety Tips For Handling Groceries Right Now
During the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have to be more careful than ever with not spreading germs, and one thing to be hyperaware of is how you handle groceries. In any food's journey from manufacturer to grocery store to your home, it can encounter a variety of people, which means it can be exposed to the coronavirus along the way. If you're in a store shopping, be careful not to touch anything you don't want to bring home, just so you aren't spreading your own germs, and shop with a purpose. With people being instructed to socially distance as much as possible, it's important to minimize your time outside the house, so make that grocery list and save the browsing for another day. And when you do get everything you need, here are four tips for how to handle your groceries when you bring them home.
POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.
Remove All Food From Extraneous Packaging
Because the coronavirus can live on surfaces for hours and up to days, you'll want to remove as much extra packaging from the food as possible. This includes any cardboard boxes the food comes in, because it may have come in contact with the virus at the store or in transport. Make sure your hands are clean, remove food from outer packaging, and store the food in the appropriate place, i.e. your fridge, freezer, or cupboard.
Keep in mind, though, that freezing food won't kill any germs. The freezing process does just that — freezes the bacteria, which will then reactivate when the food is thawed. So don't rely on that to kill any coronavirus germs.
Unload Your Groceries in a Secured Space
This could be difficult if you live in an apartment or a small area, but if you're able, try to unpack your groceries in your garage or the entryway of the house so you're not bringing germs any farther into your house than necessary. It's not a bad idea to wear gloves while unloading the groceries in the garage and disposing of all unnecessary packaging there. Then transport the food into your kitchen in a clean container and finish sanitizing everything.
Wipe Down Any Packaging You're Keeping
Any food packaging that you plan to store in your kitchen should be wiped down with sanitized paper towel before storing, according to a video shared on YouTube by Dr. Jeffrey Van Wingen. The coronavirus can live on cardboard surfaces for an entire day, and because you won't actually know how, when, or where a box might have been exposed, you should wipe it down immediately.
Wash Produce With Soap and Water
Treat produce like you do your hands. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to remove any contamination that might be on the skin.