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How to clean and disinfect groceries

And other shopping tips in the time of COVID-19

Hands washed, floors wiped, phones disinfected. As household members regularly and thoroughly clean all objects and surfaces in their homes to prevent coronavirus from entering, one question remains: Do we need to sanitize our groceries, too?

How to clean and disinfect groceries
Pick produce, not virus
The short answer is yes.

And the slightly longer answer is yes, but using the right cleaners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that coronavirus spreads from person to person—who are within six feet from each another, hence the importance of social distancing—and through respiratory droplets which can land directly in mouths or noses of nearby people or on surfaces which can be touched by another person.

Available evidence shows that the coronavirus can thrive for hours or days on different surfaces: four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Hence the possibility of catching the virus from, say, canned goods or grocery cart handles is likely, which highlights the importance of not touching your face when outside.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the most likely way of contracting coronavirus and other viruses when shopping is from touching a shopping cart or basket, thus microbiologist Elsie Gatpayat of the Food Safety and Hygiene Academy of the Philippines recommends bringing alcohol or hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes when going to the supermarkets.

How to clean and disinfect groceries
SHOP RESPONSIBLY. Aside from not hoarding groceries, experts remind shoppers to practice social distancing as well as disinfecting cart and basket handles before using them
Here’s how to do your grocery shopping to prevent contracting viruses and bringing them into your home.

While at the grocery store:

• Before using the basket or cart, wipe down the handles using tissue with disinfectant or disinfectant wipes. Discard them immediately.

• Maintain a distance of at least six feet or 1 meter from other shoppers as much as possible.

• Offer to bag your own groceries to minimize contact.

After shopping:

• Leave footwear outside the house  

• Wash hands immediately before touching anything.

• Throw away cardboard and plastic packaging.

• Wash cloth and reusable bags after use.

• Transfer seafood and meat into sealed containers.

How to clean and disinfect groceries
The Food Safety and Hygiene Academy of the Philippines shares the right way to clean and disinfect grocery items
Cleaning groceries:

• Canned goods, Tetra Paks, boxes, bottles, foil packs, and produce wrapped in plastic: wash using water with soap or wipe down using clean cloth or paper towel with disinfectant.

• Fruits and vegetables with peels: wash with water and soap

Topics: grocery , disinfect , Elsie Gatpayat , Food Safety and Hygiene Academy of the Philippines
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