Experts Share Tips on How to Clean Groceries from Coronavirus



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe saying ‘drastic times call for drastic measures’ is certainly applicable nowadays when someone has no option but to go shopping for basic needs amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We must consider the possibility that groceries we purchase, which have been displayed on supermarket shelves for days, could possibly be a virus carrier from other shoppers and must also be subjected to be decontaminated. 

    Your groceries

    Published on, a professor of foods and nutrition at the University of Georgia, Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., says that washing your hands after unpacking your groceries is the least you can do to reduce the risk of being exposed to the virus. And also getting rid of disposable packaging. 

    The professor also said that taking additional steps can be taken if you are still concerned about potential contamination even after you have washed your hands. 

    “Some people may choose to wipe or wash cans and boxes of food before storing them to reduce possible virus content,” said Andress.

    Once those are done, she suggests that you wash surfaces that were in contact with the groceries you bought, such as tables, countertops, or other surfaces in your house. Don't forget to wash your hands after that.

    Thoroughly clean the foods

    For fruits and vegetables, Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a family physician practicing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, suggests scrubbing them for at least 20 seconds with soap and water in a technique called “sterile technique.”

    A key part of VanWingen’s method is setting up a cleaning station to avoid contaminating your food or other surfaces in your house. After that, it involves wiping down all packaging with a disinfectant before putting your groceries away. You can also discard the packaging and transfer the food to a clean bag or container.

    Moreover, Andress cautions that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t recommend using soap when cleaning foods because of the risk of ingestion. However, completely rinse foods you bought with water before storing them if you do choose to use soap. 

    These precautions can help you lower the chance of being exposed to the coronavirus.