There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is foodborne. The greatest danger to you is the people who are in the store with you. But what about the products on the shelves that were clearly touched by other customers? Rutgers University microbiologist and food safety expert Donald Schaffner responds.
It is believed that the purchased products must be kept on the porch, in the garage or on the balcony for three days in order for the coronavirus on their packages to die. The expert openly laughs at this. “Are you really going to store milk, ice cream and deli meats outside for three days? It will just spoil the food and you will be poisoned,”he warns. But in this regard, there is a rational grain - the virus is inactivated at room temperature with a half-life of about eight hours. But this is true if all the food brought to you is contaminated, and that simply touching them will infect you, which is unlikely.
Another common question is whether it is necessary to disinfect food packaging. As the microbiologist noted, if this bothers you, then it is enough just to wash your hands before eating, after you have unpacked the food.
But do not wash fruits and vegetables with soap, as soap can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. As noted by Donald Schaffner, citing the opinion of other scientific experts, including the FDA, cold water is sufficient for washing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Contrary to popular belief, reusable bags and reusing bags are not as dangerous as they might seem. It is theoretically possible that microbes, including coronavirus, could be on the surface of the reusable bag. But along with it, there are many other pathogenic bacteria on the handles, from which washing our hands and washing bags saves us.
In addition, the scientist gave advice on how to shorten the time spent in the store - to make a list in the order of visiting departments: dairy in one part of the list, fruits in the other, so that you do not have to return to the departments, crossing the store over and over again. In this case, it is better to keep a distance from people (1, 8−2 meters). However, this is not always possible in the cramped aisles of supermarkets.