Mar 26, 2020

With the strict implementation of community quarantine across Luzon, households continue to stock up on groceries either by visiting supermarkets themselves or using online delivery applications. However, there are possibilities that these packages and bags may have been exposed to the virus. So, yes, no matter how adamant you have been with staying indoors, the virus still has a chance of entering your household. Frightful, I know, but the right measures can prevent this from happening.

To eliminate the virus from grocery or takeout packages, Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, MD, a medical specialist from Michigan, shares how to shop safer during the pandemic. Mirroring the medical field’s sterile technique, a process used during surgeries to eliminate risks of infection, these steps are medically and scientifically approved and are now part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data for safe takeout food and grocery practices.

It is important to note that according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the coronavirus can live in the air for three hours, on cardboard for one hour and on plastic and metal surfaces for three days. As most grocery and take out packages are made from these materials, these following steps and reminders must be taken:

 

During shopping

  1. Plan what you will buy for two weeks and buy those weeks’ worth of groceries.
  2. Wipe down your cart. This includes the insides and not just the handles.
  3. Only pick up items you are sure of buying. This will lessen the chances of contracting the virus and also transmitting it.
  4. Don’t shop if you have respiratory symptoms. Do not allow elderlies of more than 60 years old to do the groceries.

Groceries at home

  1. If possible, try to leave your groceries for three days in your car, garage, or other places outside the household. This is in accordance with the NIH’s data which states that the virus can only live for three days.
  2. If you must bring them in, first sanitize the space you are placing the groceries on with any standard disinfectant.
  3. Divide your workspace into two sides: the dirty side (for newly bought groceries and deliveries) and the clean side (for disinfected groceries and deliveries). Once done with disinfection, place each item on the clean side.
  4. Wipe down all plastic packaging.
  5. Get rid of unnecessary external packaging, such as that of cereal boxes.
  6. For produce, bread and other items that may be wrapped in plastic, wipe the plastics or take the items out and place them inside clean containers.
  7. Items in thick plastics or glasses, such as that of milk cartons or jam jars, can be sprayed with disinfectant.
  8. For fruits with thick skin, wash these in soap and water for not less than 20 seconds then rinse thoroughly.
  9. Make sure to thoroughly disinfect the parts of the item that hands usually touch or land on.

Take-out food deliveries

  1. After receiving the delivery, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly before touching the packages again.
  2. Transfer the food into new plates or containers. For sauces, pour them onto saucers or plates as well
  3. Microwave or heat the food.
  4. Throw away the packages immediately.
  5. For frozen goods like ice cream, wipe the exterior plastic with a disinfectant.
  6. Species of the coronavirus are vulnerable to heat. Therefore, it’s best to avail of hot take-out food deliveries, rather than cold ones.

 

 

 

Header photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.

Read more:

Your phone can carry coronavirus for 9 days. Here’s how to disinfect it

LOOK: Netizens share photos and videos of Boracay-like waters of Manila Bay

MakatiMed frontliners may be quarantined after COVID-19 positive Pimentel visit

TAGS: coronavirus Grocery shopping