By Nicole Pajer
If you’ve been to the , a professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ School of Public Health. “You can take a lot of steps like that, but they won’t provide anything more than a false sense of security,” he added, noting that “it’s not about the food that you buy, it’s about the interaction you have with other people at the supermarket.”
Thus Labus said to make sure that you are following the recommended hygienic measures such as “limiting your distance to other people and make sure to wash your hands and use hand sanitiser when possible.”
Richard Vayda, restaurant and culinary management instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, added that according to the NHS, spreading the virus through packages and food is unlikely. And with most packaging materials, the time of transit also is a deterioration factor.
“Any item exposed to respiratory droplets can be contaminated, although the nature of typical food surfaces, the lag time between purchase and consumption, as well as any cooking, work against infection potential,” he said. But as an extra step, you can cleanse packaging for items that you will be using immediately, “including cleaning/wiping down jars, soda cans, etc.” This, he said, is always advisable on his end, “as there can additionally be physical contaminants that are not easilyvisible.”
If you are elderly or have chronic health conditions, take extra precautions when shopping
The safest option for more vulnerable individuals (the elderly, immunocompromised, and those with chronic heart and lung diseases) is to ask someone else to do the shopping for them, said Felicia Wu, a John A. Hannah distinguished professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. “If that is not possible, then I do think it is a good idea for supermarkets to have dedicated hours that are for more vulnerable populations to shop ― ones in which there will be fewer people, and where cleaning can take place beforehand,” she added. As this is starting to happen across the nation ― Erewhon Market in Los Angeles, for example, announced it is opening locations an hour earlier to cater to this higher-risk crowd ― it’s a good idea for individuals in this group to shop during those hours.
The bottom line, said, Josie Greve-Peterson, a PSSI corporate microbiologist, is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not currently have any reports of human illnesses that suggest Covid-19 can be transmitted via food or food packaging.
“However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices — i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly ― when handling or preparing foods,” she said.
And since we’re still learning more about the virus daily, it’s a good idea to take any extra precautions you can.