COVID-19: Are Your Groceries Putting You at Risk?

I don’t know if you noticed, but grocery stores have become extremely crowded lately. It makes sense since we are all cooking at home more thanks to the pandemic.  

Not to mention, grocery stores are one of the few places cooped up people go to get out of the house  

But that means your local store is turning into a coronavirus hotspot.  

Hopefully you’re wearing a mask and keeping your distance from others. 

But should you worry about the virus hitchhiking on the groceries you bring home?  

The answer to the question is: MAYBE.  

Studies suggest the coronavirus can live on certain surfaces for up to 72 hours.  

A recent New England Journal of Medicine article found that the virus was detectable on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours after exposure and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.  

You already know that the best recommendation to avoid the virus is to stay at home as much as you can (but you also know how hard that can be!). And we all need to restock on food eventually. 

Currently, the Center for Disease Control recommends all people wear face masks in public places —especially where it is difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from others (like the grocery store).  

BUT, just because a virus CAN live on a surface, doesn’t mean there’s enough on that surface to infect you.  

Your biggest risk is still coming into contact with someone who has the virus and not your groceries. While the virus can live for a long time on certain surfaces, it needs ideal conditions and most people who are sick are staying far away from others. 

Without diving too deep into the subject of Viral Load, it is important to know that it takes the presence of many (hundreds) of viruses to actually infect you. One virus particle hanging out on a cardboard box usually won’t do it. 

The key word in the sentence above? USUALLY. There is still much about this new virus we don’t know.   

So, what should you do when you come home with a load of groceries that are made up of plastic and cardboard?  

Part of this depends on where you live: Do you live in a city? Are there a lot of sick people?  

If you live in a dense area or are worried, it is probably better to assume everything you touch has been touched by someone who is sick.  

This means your first step is to not touch or grab something unless you intend to buy it (that means no squeezing those avocados before you pick them up!).  

As soon as you come home, wash your hands.  

I have a resourceful friend who opens every single package he bought and dumps them into clean containers at a station he set up outside his home. He then recycles the packaging and washes his hands before taking his containers inside.  

You don’t have to go to that extreme, but you could leave your groceries in your car or in the garage for 24 to 72 hours.  

You can also wipe or wash cans and boxes of food before storing them. If you use cloth bags, throw them in the washing machine. If you have access to Clorox wipes, you can use those on the outside of the packages.  

You can also wash your vegetables and fruits. But you want to use a specific fruit and vegetable soap – or leave them alone in the refrigerator for a day or so.  

My family usually changes our clothes after we get home and have taken care of the groceries, just to be extra safe. 

Dr. Scott Olson

Written By Dr. Scott Olson

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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