At the beginning of the pandemic, experts recommended that we wipe down our grocery packages with a suitable disinfectant before putting them away. But as experts learned more about how the coronavirus spreads, there seemed little likelihood of transmission from groceries.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said “that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food packaging being associated with the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”
According to Fox News, the FDA also said in a statement posted to its website:
“This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food.”
Experts now say that the risk of getting the virus from surfaces, including grocery packaging, is “exceedingly small,” according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Melissa Bronstein, senior director of infection prevention at Rochester Regional Health, said that even takeout containers pose little risk of infection, adding that the real risk would be if “an infected restaurant worker was face to face with you without wearing a mask.” She adds that some people “quarantined” their groceries for a few days before putting them away, a practice she says is not necessary either.
The initial mania over disinfecting every surface in the home and every item that entered the home, caused a dire shortage of cleaning wipes early on in the pandemic. Bronstein told the Chronicle that if “someone in the household is sick, quarantining them and cleaning the surfaces they may be touching frequently is important.”
She added that if everyone is well, routine cleaning is adequate for sanitation. However, experts told CNN that while wiping down grocery packaging is not necessary as the risk of getting the virus is very low, washing your hands thoroughly after any potential contact will lower that risk even further.
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