With all these “Stay at Home” or “Shelter in Place” orders it becomes easy to think that everything outside your home potentially has the Coronavirus. Therefore everything that comes into your home, including groceries, is potentially a problem, right? So should I be disinfecting my groceries? Will disinfecting groceries slow the spread?
It really helps to NOT have this mindset. After all, you have to leave your home some – time.
The trick is to take reasonable precautions. In terms of grocery shopping, your biggest risk is probably the shopping trip. The virus is going to thrive much more in a human host than on a package of groceries. Here are some of the ways to help on the shopping trip:
- Don’t go grocery shopping – Avoid the trip altogether. Use online delivery services that many stores have (check their website) or services like Peapod, Shipt or Instacart.
- Sanitize Your Cart – Bring some wipes with you in case the store is out. Wipe down your cart before using it.
- Stay away from others – Practice ‘social distancing’ in the store. Have a list when you enter so you can go straight to the areas you need. Do your best to avoid others as you walk through the store.
Should I be Disinfecting my Groceries at Home?
Once you load your groceries in the car, there really is no need to wipe everything down. Although the virus can live on plastic for 2-3 days, it needs to transfer on to your hands. Then it needs to travel up to your face and go through one of the openings.
Therefore, when you get back home and unload the groceries, avoid touching your face. Put the groceries away and then wash your hands thoroughly. Wash your hands again before your prepare and eat your food. Wash your produce and other food where it makes sense in cold water prior to cooking or eating. You probably don’t need to be disinfecting groceries at home.
That’s probably good advice whether there is a virus pandemic or not.
Keeping the food outside for a couple of days doesn’t make a lot of sense. Especially if you have perishable items. The degradation and spoilage of the food over those days will be more problematic than any remaining viruses on them.
Washing your food with a combination of water and soap doesn’t make much sense. Soap was made to clean your skin, not your food. If you’re old enough, you may have had your parents wash your mouth out with soap for saying a bad word.
How did that taste? Putting soap on food may cause more problems than bad taste. Some effects may be nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Bleach would be even worse – even if you substantially dilute it.
Does disinfecting groceries sound like such a great idea anymore? It may make more sense to examine what food you are eating, than whether it needs to be sanitized.
As long you clean your food before eating it and practice good hygiene for yourself, you should be fine. We’ve consulted with several doctors on this and they all agree.