Coronavirus and Healthy Shopping & Eating Out

While studies have shown that coronavirus can be present for up to three days on certain surfaces such as metal or plastic, there is no published data to date that suggests that people contract COVID-19 from touching food or food packaging.

Here is some helpful advice when you are shopping for food:

  • Plan your list ahead and don’t buy more than 1-2 weeks' worth of food.
  • Be sure to wipe down surfaces that are commonly touched by many people such as handles of shopping carts and baskets.
  • Avoid touching your face.  Wear a face covering or mask
  • Maintain adequate distance (at least 6 feet) between yourself and other shoppers
  • Be sure to wash your hands often, especially after shopping in public.  You should wash with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • You can also shop online or choose a less crowded time to visit the grocery store.
  • Upon arrival home, follow the FDA guidelines of food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill. https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/4-steps-to-food-safety
  • If you wish, you can wipe down food packaging, although there is no evidence to date that the virus is spread this way.
  • It is always a good idea to rinse produce under running water prior to eating, especially if it will not be cooked.
  • When cooking, remember to wash hands and clean countertops

Takeout: This can be a good way to support local businesses and reward yourself after a week of cooking at home.

  • The virus is unlikely to be transmitted from food and more likely to result from close contact with a worker delivering the food.  All food establishments are expected to follow local health department guidelines on food safety and handling including screening employees for symptoms and enforcing masks/gloves at work.
  • Whenever possible, try to pay for food over the phone and have curbside pickup or contactless delivery.
  • Transfer the meal from its original packaging to a plate and wash hands thoroughly before eating.

For more information on your nutrition/gastrointestinal health during the pandemic or to book an appointment with Gotham Gastroenterology, contact our office at 212-794-0240. You can also make an appointment on-line.

Resources:

Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic (https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/shopping-food-during-covid-19-pandemic-information-consumers/

van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, Holbrook MG, Gamble A, Williamson BN, Tamin A, Harcourt JL, Thornburg NJ, Gerber SI, Lloyd-Smith JO. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020 Mar 17.

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