During the lockdown, you might feel like you’re constantly disinfecting everything around you – and for a good reason! The HSE encourages everyone to regularly wash their hands and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
It’s only natural for you to feel a bit nervous when buying groceries. You never know who might’ve touched the packaging of the products you’re buying. You might even vigorously disinfect all the packaging before putting it away in your kitchen cupboards.
But is this really necessary?
According to Safefood, the public body in charge of consumer awareness about food safety and healthy eating across Ireland, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. “While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way,” it says on its website.
But you should still always follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods. “You should always wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature and put food in the fridge as soon as you can.”
But we are elbow-deep in a pandemic. How can we ensure that the virus doesn’t make its way into our homes? Safefood has a few tips to ensure you stay safe and healthy while you’re out doing grocery shopping:
First of all, you shouldn’t go shopping if you show any COVID-19 symptoms. Either order your groceries online or have a family member or friend drop them off instead.
Keep those hands clean
When you go out to buy some food, wash your hands BEFORE leaving the house. Avoid touching your face when out and keep a safe social distance (two metres) from fellow shoppers at all times.
Once you’re home again, wash your hands straight away, and again after you unpacked and put away your shopping. Also, wash them before preparing and cooking food.
What about gloves?
According to Safefood, gloves can give a false sense of security. “They would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It’s better to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.”
So keep those hands clean.
Follow instructions on how to correctly clean shopping bags
If you are sanitising surfaces or shopping bags, follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how much time is needed before wiping the sanitiser off.
Should you leave your shopping outside your home for a while?
Always put away your shopping as soon as you get home — especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer.
There is very little evidence that your home can be contaminated with the coronavirus from contaminated surfaces you bring into it. You’re much more likely to be infected by someone in the store. That’s why it’s so important to do your shopping as quickly as possible and to avoid the shops as much as you can.