We know there are a lot of questions swirling around right now when it comes to grocery shopping and the coronavirus. We have those questions, too. (We’re all in uncharted territory here. Together!) So we turned to the experts to get answers and current information about what’s safe. Here are the most frequently asked questions we’ve been hearing-slash-asking when it comes to grocery shopping and groceries.
NOTE: The situation (and available information) is changing by the day, and sometimes, by the hour right now. We spoke with experts and gathered information on March 18. Things may have changed by the time you get to reading this. We will try to update this post as we learn more, but for the most up-to-date information related to food safety, be sure to head to the FDA’s website.
Is it safe to go to the grocery store?
Obviously we are staying home and limiting human interaction in the effort to limit the virus’ spread. Does going to the grocery store negate those efforts? After talking with the experts for this story, we feel a lot better about just going to the store and coming right back.
The chief concern, of course, has to do with coming in contact with someone who is sick, or spreading sickness. This is where social distancing comes in; you should stay at least six feet away from other shoppers. Another point of concern: the grocery cart handle (use those sanitizing wipes that are available at the entrances of your store to wipe down the cart before you shop!). Be sure to wash your hands when you get home and when you’re done unpacking the groceries (more on that below). And do not touch your face between these steps.
Is it safe to handle groceries and bags from the store?
And then, what about food and food packaging itself? The FDA website says this: “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, it is critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety — clean, separate, cook, and chill.”