How to stay food safe during COVID-19 crisis
One of the only places we are frequenting while in quarantine is the grocery store, but that could be how many of us could contract the coronavirus. Since the pandemic broke out, there have been a number of instructional videos online on how to keep you and your family safe.
One of the most popular is from a doctor in Michigan. However, a number of doctors and experts have since pointed out some issues with it.
Dr. Jeffrey Van Wingen gave advice on how to safely bring food from the grocery store into your home went viral with over 24 million views on YouTube. We’re going to clarify some of the advice Dr. VanWingen recommended. First, he says when you go grocery shopping, to disinfect the cart not just the handle, but where you put the food too.
He says once you’re home, wash your hands and disinfect your counter. All experts agree on those points, but when he suggests leaving those groceries in our garage or on our porch for three days, he doesn’t mention those extra precautions should not be applied to refrigerated or frozen items.
He also says “COVID-19 can live on cardboard for one hour.” Experts we spoke with say that’s not true either. COVID-19 can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and metal surfaces for three days, according to the National Institute of Health.
Get rid of any packaging you don’t need. If you can’t get rid of the container you should disinfect it. As for fruits and veggies, Van Wingen says you should wash everything for 20 seconds apiece but then he dumps them in soapy water. The USDA does not recommend using soap to clean your produce. That’s why we created Eat Cleaner.
“You would take a packet of our Eat Cleaner Food Grade Wash Powder and add it to a gallon of cool water and then I add my produce to one of our mesh produce and I can just soak it,” says Eat Cleaner founder Mareya Ibrahim. “It’s really important that people understand this is not just for the next month,” she says. “These are habits we need to continue ongoing.”
And finally, if you’re ordering takeout, the same precautions apply: wash your hands, plate your food, and get rid of all unnecessary containers. Hot takeout food is safer because it has a kill step of being put in the oven or microwave. VanWingen has since made a number of corrections and clarifications to his original video. The FDA has said there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of the coronavirus, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. We suggest using our Eat Cleaner wipes to wipe down the outside of packaging before you put everything away.