Food Safety in the Time of COVID-19: Tips for grocery store items

Are foods from the grocery store safe? There is no evidence that we can get COVID-19 from the food that we eat; either from the food itself or from touching a package or container of food. The way that we get the COVID-19 illness is from breathing in infected droplets from someone coughing or sneezing.  The best prevention step is to practice physical distancing as you are out shopping for or selecting food, or picking up take-out.

Extra hand washing is the next most important thing that we can do. Hand washing is a prevention step that’s easy to follow and may provide some added reassurance that we are doing our best to protect our families. Wash hands before, and after, handling any food packages.  When you bring home packaged food, wash your hands before putting packages away. After picking a can or package of food from your pantry or refrigerator, wash your hands before preparing the product. And always wash your hands before serving food, and before and after eating.

Should I let my bags of groceries sit outside for a day or two before bringing them into my home? There is no evidence that the coronavirus can transfer from food to make you sick, so you do not need to let food sit outside before bringing groceries into your home. Once in your home, unpack groceries and store them in the proper location: a cool, dry cupboard for shelf-stable items like cereal, crackers and cookies, or the refrigerator or freezer for dairy products and other perishable items. Wash your hands before and after handling foods, before you prepare meals or snacks, and before eating.  Stay well and food-safe, Barb