Common Sense: You're more likely to be infected by your fellow shoppers than anything you purchase

As grocery stores start to experience the death of workers due to the coronavirus, shoppers are beginning to ask about best practices for shopping. With so much uncertainty and anxiety in the air, it's only natural to wonder whether that perfectly ripe apple could be a potentially deadly weapon. But what are the facts around food safety?


Paranoia around packaging spiked last month after a study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that the virus could stay on cardboard for 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for 72 hours,


Once you get home from the grocery store, determine a clean side and dirty side of your table or counter where you will unload the groceries. Sanitize the clean half with a disinfectant and put your groceries on the dirty side of table. 


There is no need to wash fruits and vegetables with soap and water. Just rinse them in cold water when you are ready to eat them. The cold-water rinse will remove between 90% and 99% of germs and bacteria.



It's important to keep in mind that people are unlikely to catch the new coronavirus from food or food packaging, since the virus does not survive well on surfaces, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Your biggest risk from grocery shopping is the time that you spend in the store around people who either have the coronavirus and have symptoms or asymptomatic people who are in the store. So you're more likely to be infected by your fellow shoppers than anything you purchase. And remember, it's impossible to eliminate risk.


Finally, if you use reusable grocery bags, clean them after each use.

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