If there is one thing that should make you feel more at ease about getting groceries, it’s that there isn’t currently any evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by food. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like a packaging container, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
In general, because of poor survivability of the coronavirus on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from groceries or packaging.
Even though the risk is low, since the virus can live on surfaces for some time, it makes sense if you are being extra cautious to treat the boxes and bags you bring home from the grocery store like any other surface that has been exposed to the public.
You don’t need to go over the top, but there are some simple precautions you can take to give yourself a little piece of mind. If you have a garage or area separate from your main living space, you could store items there for a few days that you don’t plan to use right away. Since the virus can live anywhere from a few hours to three days on different types of surfaces, leaving items untouched for a few days is a good way to significantly reduce any potential virus that might have been on the products.
Groceries you need to put in the fridge or use right away should be wiped down. For other packaged items, prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Wipe down non-porous items such as bottles of juice or cans. Wipe down boxes, or remove items like cereal from their outer packaging. Put all of the discarded packaging and soiled paper towels into a bag, then seal it up and throw it away.
When you are done, wipe down the surface the groceries were on. Put any bags into a clean bag and seal them up before discarding. And as always, don’t forget to wash your hands when you are finished.