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3 simple tips how to deal with groceries and food during COVID-19 pandemic

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SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 disease, which is now spreading across the globe, can survive on surfaces for up to several days.

This is actually a scary thought. You may touch something an infected person touched and then you may scratch your face and become sick. We have to go grocery shopping, so how can we protect ourselves from viruses lurking on surfaces?

UNSW Associate Professor of Food Microbiology, Julian Cox, says that there are three main rules when it comes to safe food hygiene practices in these difficult times.


Wash your hands often when preparing food. Also, wash the surfaces that you prepare food on. You can use disinfectants on surfaces, but for fruits and vegetables running water is enough. Some people resort to using dish soap when washing their fruits and veggies – this may create unpleasant smells and flavours and is not necessary.

Also, wash your hands with soap and don’t rush – you should wash your hands for about 20 seconds. And you should also maintain your kitchen utensils clean. All of this cleanliness is a good habit to have, regardless of the viruses.


Don’t put your grocery bags on the main food preparation surfaces. Also, don’t unload groceries that you had just brought in onto your main kitchen surfaces. Assume that they might be contaminated so avoid spreading that contamination.

You can clean all the packages with disinfectants, but you also may just unpack some of the items. Avoid handling packages too much. In some cases keeping the package is a good idea, but if you do throw them away, make sure you know the expiration dates. And when you get some food delivered, transfer it to your plates and throw away the packaging – don’t put it on your cooking surfaces. You should not be fearful of food packages. Chances of having any significant load of virus on packaging is very low.


Viruses typically love temperatures between 5 and 60 degrees Celsius. SARS-CoV-2 is no exception. If you cook your food well, it will be safe to eat. Put your leftover in a plastic box and they will remain safe, unless someone infected is going to touch them.

All of these tips work just as well outside of COVID-19 pandemic. Cooking your food well will kill some dangerous bacteria and other pathogens. So use this opportunity to develop some new habits.

To sum up – wash your hands, wash your food, wash your cooking surfaces and don’t panic. It is highly unlikely you’re going to get sick because you touched a contaminated surface. If you keep your kitchen, your utensils and your hands cleans, you’re going to be fine.




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