Stop Sanitizing Your Groceries

Updated: May 8, 2020

The odds of someone leaving enough virus on a grocery item or takeout container to make someone sick with COVID19 are fairly low, and using chemicals to disinfect groceries actually might lead to MORE illness related to chemical poisoning; food and many types of food packaging are porous, even if it doesn’t seem like it. This means that any chemical we put on the packaging could absorb into the food through the packaging and could make us sick.

Instead, after handling groceries, consumers should vigorously wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds; handwashing has a much better chance for reducing the potential for viral contamination than wiping down containers. So, after putting groceries away, wash your hands, or when preparing food, wash your hands frequently.

If the groceries are for an immunocompromised individual, in addition to hand washing, you can take easy action for groceries that don't need refrigeration by letting them sit for a day or more before unpacking them. According to a study study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, after 8 hours on cardboard, stainless steel, or plastic,  for example, the virus will be reduced by about 99%. 

So, don't poison yourself or your family with chemicals that you spray on groceries (also, don't drink bleach to "disinfect" your body) and focus your energy in reduction of disease transmission on hand washing and social distancing instead!

For more information on COVID-19 and food packaging - visit our other article here:

Thanks to HelloGiggles for using CloudBreak Advisory for advice on their column:

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