COVID-19 - Should you decontaminate your groceries?

09 April 2020

COVID-19 - Should you decontaminate your groceries?

09 April 2020

To this day, Health Canada has not reported any case of COVID19 transmission through food; at the present time, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or its packaging. There is therefore no need to panic.

Washing your groceries before storing them might not be necessary

However, if cleaning your groceries reassures you, here are a few methods to consider:

  • An easy habit to adopt: Getting rid of unnecessary packaging before storage. 
  • Plastic and aluminium packaging: Fill your sink with soapy water and wash items with a cloth soaked in water. Set up an area for washed items and another for unwashed items. Please remember to clean the dirty area and wash your hands after cleaning your grocery items! 
  • Cardboard: The simplest way is to leave these items in a bag for 24 hours before storing them. For items that require refrigeration, wipe them with a damp and soapy cloth. 
  • Fruits and vegetables: Some physicians say that you can wash your fruits and vegetables with water and soap before storing them. Please note that dish soap is the best option, even on food items! Speciality products to clean fruits and vegetables do not have the ability to eliminate the coronavirus. Health Canada however states that soap is not necessary; the federal institution recommends simply to follow current cleaning methods to get rid of the virus.

What about the freezer? 

Cold temperatures would not be a good strategy to decontaminate your groceries. Past coronaviruses have shown us that freezing them increases their duration of infectivity.

How long does the virus live on surfaces? 

The duration of infectivity of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 on surfaces has not yet been determined with accuracy. Some studies consider a life duration of up to 9 days, while others speak of 24 hours on cardboard and 3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. 

If decontaminating your groceries reassures you, please remember that people-to-people contacts remain the riskiest. Staying home, observing social distancing and washing your hands are the best ways to avoid contamination! 


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