How To Clean What You Buy from the Supermarket

Posted On Apr 14, 2020


We're now a few weeks into self-isolation and we bet in most cases by now you've had to go out to get groceries, have had friends deliver provisions, or have had a delivery company stop by with your online order. Grocery shopping during the Covid-19 virus outbreak is an essential task to replenish our kitchens, but how do you do this in the safest way possible?


You may be asking yourself:

  1. How do I venture out to the grocery store without putting myself and others at risk?
  2. Should I sanitize food packages?
  3. Can I get sick if someone coughs near produce that I pick up?


All valid questions and we've got some great tips courtesy from The Spruce, an online website offering practical, real-life tips to help make your best home.


Staying Safe in the Grocery Store

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control has been consistent that COVID-19, the disease that causes coronavirus, is spread by direct person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets. This means that currently, being around other people is the biggest known risk of going to the grocery store.


Here are some additional tips experts say can mitigate risk:

  1. Plan ahead so you can make fewer trips to the store rather than going multiple times a week.
  2. Choose grocery stores that are spacious enough to allow for social distancing of at least six feet between customers or are enforcing social distancing by letting only a certain number of customers in at a time.
  3. Bring sanitizing wipes with you to the grocery store and wipe down cart and basket handles.
  4. Keep hand sanitizer with you whenever you don't have access to soap and water.
  5. Don't touch items unnecessarily—decide what you're getting and commit before picking it up.
  6. Don't put unpackaged produce directly in the cart; either bring your own reusable washable produce bags or use the plastic bags provided by the store.
  7. Sanitize your credit card after paying.


Do You Need to Sanitize Food Packaging?

According to the CDC, "...currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging." Experts for the CDC do acknowledge that "it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."


There's no evidence that ingesting the virus will lead to a coronavirus infection, as coronaviruses do not thrive in the digestive system, only the respiratory system, according to the CDC. So, if someone coughed or sneezed on your food, you wouldn't catch coronavirus from eating it. But if you touch the item shortly after they coughed or sneezed on it, and then touch your face without washing your hands, there is a chance you can get infected.


A recent video from a Michigan physician shows him treating grocery packages with the "sterile technique" that medical professionals use for preventing the spread of germs. As part of the process, he suggests wiping down all packaging such as plastic-wrapped produce, canned goods, chip bags, and milk jugs with disinfectant-soaked paper towels. While this will kill the virus and you can certainly do it for peace of mind, it's time-consuming, and experts don't think it's necessary. Instead, it's more important to wash your hands as much as humanly possible before and after handling packages as well as consistently sanitizing surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, and light switches.


How Should You Handle Produce?

It's recommended you follow the standard FDA and CDC food safety guidelines for washing produce. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap, then use running water and a vegetable scrub brush (or your clean hands) to thoroughly clean produce. You don't need any additional cleansers — in fact, it's not advisable since cleansing agents aren't meant for human consumption. Discard or wash any bags used for the produce and store the cleaned produce directly in your fridge. If you're buying bagged salad that's already triple-washed, you don't need to re-wash it, but you can empty the contents into a container you have at home and discard the bag.


At Kelson Group, it's our goal to help you live better. We thank our many residents throughout B.C. and Alberta for their diligence in practicing social distancing, washing their hands, and being good neighbours to their fellow community members. 


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