Food Safety expert weighs in on how to safely handle groceries

Guelph Professor says it's not necessary to clean packaging

It’s never been more stressful bringing your food home. For a few weeks, tips on how to clean your groceries and the cardboard they are stored in have been circulating the web.

A food safety expert at the University of Guelph is hoping to clarify some food safety standards.

Earlier this week Professor Jeff Farber, a professional with over 35 years of experience in the food safety industry posted a YouTube video with some facts and safety tips when handling groceries.

Safety starts before you enter the grocery store. Farber says “make a list of what you need and want to buy so you limit your time in the store, and choose a store that is paying attention to safety guidelines.”

It’s important to note that to date, there have been no reported illnesses linked to food, food packaging and COVID-19.

Professor Jeff Farber- University of Guelph

There should be hand wipes for you to disinfect the cart handles, and when leaving, practice social distancing at the checkout. Remember to disinfect your hands on your way out.

Once you’re home, give your hands a good wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, then put your groceries away. You can then use disinfectant or a disinfectant wipe to wipe down your countertops or anywhere your grocery bags touched. Once you’re done that, wash your hands again for 20 seconds.

You should also always wash your hands before you eat, Farber adds.

When it comes to washing your produce, Farber advises against using soap. “The soap you use could cause vomiting and diarrhea so please just wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with cold water as recommended by Health Canada.”

Image courtesy of Flickr

Another myth is that you have to disinfect the individual packages being brought into your home. Farber says you don’t have to do this as long as you wash your hands before and after handling groceries.

However he goes on to say that people in high-risk groups or who are anxious about the virus can wipe the packages with disinfectant and allow them to air dry, but it’s not generally recommended.

In the end, it comes down to social distancing, proper handwashing, and keeping your hands off your face.

Farber’s complete YouTube video is available here

feature image courtesy of Pickpik

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