Coronavirus and the safety of fresh produce

 In Blog, Health, How To
A note from Eat Cleaner founder, Mareya Ibrahim

As a company, we wanted to address our dear friends and family who have become our customers during this challenging time, and give you peace of mind about consuming fresh fruit and vegetables.

According to the FDA, there is no evidence that fresh produce (or any other food, or other product/material) can transmit the coronavirus/COVID-19. The FDA directly addresses food safety concerns at the bottom of their FAQ page here where they answer your questions about the people who are in contact with the food you are consuming before it comes into your possession.

Furthermore, the FDA states there are no clinically confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to the consumption of fresh produce or food sold through traditional retail outlets. However, as consumers select their produce, wash it and prepare it, adhering to food safety guidance is critical. We encourage consumers to wash their hands, and wash and prepare their produce safely.  Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects, particularly if it isn’t cooked. For that reason, it is critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook and chill.

As a company, personal hygiene and sanitation practices have long been a critical part of our message to you, and we will continue to share that knowledge with you as our valued customers.

Recently, there have been suggestions shared on social media and through a viral video that you should ‘wash your fresh produce with warm water and SOAP’ in light of the Coronavirus epidemic.  As experts in food safety, we wanted to clarify this misinformation as it could potentially be harmful to consumers, from the perspective of a Ph.D, Dr. Shawki Ibrahim.
“The Coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or nose discharge when infected person coughs or sneezes (CDC). COVID-19 can be transmitted from contaminated surfaces including produce when touching nose, mouth, and eyes. Surface contamination of produce can occurs from persons who are infected with the virus whether symptomatic or asymptomatic and then who touch the produce in retail, food service and distribution scenarios.
Current evidence on previous Coronavirus strains shows that good food hygiene can prevent their transmission through food including  produce (specific information on the transmission of COVID-19 through food are not available at this time but this is our experience with other viruses).
While washing produce at home with “soap” and warm water as suggested may be be effective in removing surface contamination, it is too simplistic and a potentially unsafe practice. It is our opinion that household soaps and detergents are NOT food grade and likely to contain other unsafe ingredients. If ingested, it can cause harm to the consumer including diarrhea, indigestion and nausea.
EatCleaner is the ONLY patented, lab proven, safe and effective line available on the market. The EatCleaner line of produce spray and powder washes are specifically formulated to clean produce using food grade ingredients and a natural, food grade surfactant (aka soaping agent) that breaks the surface tension of produce and the fatty, oily layers of wax and residue that water alone can’t, with other naturally anti-viral ingredients like Citric Acid and Ascorbic Acid. In 5 different independent lab tests, EatCleaner was proven to remove up to 99.99% of these potentially harmful residues.  This is particularly important for produce items that are not cooked, as high cooking temperatures can kill viruses.”
Additionally, the use of warm water can compromise the texture of the produce promoting wilting and sogginess.
As the makers of EatCleaner with over a decade of expertise in the industry, we strongly suggest that the record be set straight for consumers to avoid being mislead.

We offer this wealth of resources and facts for free on our website at eatcleaner.com to help share how to be food safe and save waste during this important time:

https://eatcleaner.com/how-safe-is-our-food-my-interview-with-chalene-johnson

 

https://eatcleaner.com/how-to-host-a-healthy-food-safe-holiday-season

https://eatcleaner.com/why-do-they-say-rinse-with-water-if-it-doesnt-work

We also offer a whole library of videos on YouTube of how to safely and effectively wash your produce:
In addition, our podcast, Recipes For Your Best Life, offers several episodes addressing food safety and how to avoid viral and bacterial contamination:
The truth is, practicing sound food safety habits are important now and always, no matter whether there is an outbreak or during regular times.  We are here to help and answer any questions you may have and encourage you to continue enjoying your fresh fruit and vegetables, safely.
Mareya Ibrahim, Founder and CEO
Eat Cleaner and Grow Green Industries, Inc.
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