For those of you wondering how to safely shop for food during the Covid-19/Coronavirus, this is intended to give specific instructions about the best way to handle groceries as well as take-out food in the era of social distancing by using adapted medical sterile techniques. Please watch this video recorded by Jeffrey Van Wingen, M.D. (family medicine) who will walk us through the best practices for getting groceries from the store to your home – safely.
“We have a dilemma in society that we need to eat to live. But we also need to get that food … and getting that food is now [more] risky. I’m going to help you reduce your risk as you go out into the market place.”
– Jeffrey Van Wingen, M.D.
Here are some takeaways:
· If possible, do not bring your groceries into your home. You can leave them outside for up to three days.
· Shopping services should never enter your home.
· If you must bring your groceries in, handle them carefully and have a set plan for unpacking them.
“Imagine that the groceries that you have are covered with glitter and that your goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, and especially not on your face. [Then] imagine that disinfectants and soap have the power to dissolve that glitter.”
– Jeffrey VanWingen, M.D.
· Create two distinct areas on your countertop surface. On one side, place your groceries. Assume that anything on this side is dirty. When you have properly cleaned each item, you may place the items on the clean side. When you have completed this task, fully sanitize the countertop using items like bleach, soap, and antibacterial products.
· When you remove an individual item from your bags, spray some disinfectant onto the bag, making certain to pay special attention to surface areas that would likely have been touched (for example, the creased top of a salad bag.)
· You may also choose to dump the groceries vegetables into the crisper or into another storage bin in your home and throw the plastic packaging away.
Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen MD
· When you shop, eyeball each item and commit to buying it before you touch it.
· Do not go into a grocery store if you are experiencing any respiratory problems.
· Do not allow a loved one over aged 60 to go into a grocery store.
· Buy what you need for up to two weeks.
· Try to remove the outer packing of things and throw them away. (i.e. disinfect the cereal box, but then remove the bag from within and dispose of the box itself. This can also work for loaves of bread and such.)
· If you are shopping for a parent or other loved one, make sure to put all their disinfected groceries into a clean bag prior to delivery.
· Wash fruit in a soapy bath of water and then scrub each piece under hot water for 20 seconds.
· For those taking a break from cooking, when take-out food comes into your house, be mindful of unpacking the food. The packaging is more of a worry than food. Coronavirus does not live well in heat or in hot food. Separate your counter once more into the clean and the dirty spheres and carefully put your food directly onto a plate. Dispose of packaging and then thoroughly disinfect both sides of the counter. Feel free to microwave for a moment.
· Make sure to disinfect frozen food packaging prior to placing in the freezer as coronavirus is less likely to die in cold than in the heat.
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