COVID-19 and Food Safety
How do we safely handle and prepare our food in order to protect ourselves from COVID-19? After all, eating is a necessity, right? However, does the virus spread through the food we ingest? There have been tons of conflicting information being cycled in the news about how COVID-19 and food safety and how it may spread through our food supply and ways we should protect ourselves from that happening.
Should We Use Soap To Clean Our Fruits and Vegetables?
One doctor in a viral video, which has been seen over 16.5 million times, declared that we need to wash our fruits and vegetables with soap and water. Uh, NO! Household dish detergents and other soaps can be toxic to humans, causing nausea and upset stomachs. These types of soap compounds are not compatible with the human digestive system.
What Should We Do to Clean Our Fresh Foods?
The foods that can be and should be washed only need a thorough rinsing of cold water, NO SOAP. It is better to use soap and water to clean your hands each time you have handled food items and their containers. Of course, it is important to dispose of those containers and refrigerate the foods that need to be kept cold. Then, as our mothers told us, we should always clean our hands before preparing our food and before eating. By the way, hand sanitizer is good to use if you cannot access soap and water for your hands, but it is not as effective as soap and water and should not be your main source of disinfecting.
What About Any Coronavirus That Might Be On Food?
Good news! The virus does not survive well in our stomachs which have a very acidic environment.
Can We Use Other Chemicals To Clean Our Fruits And Veggies?
Do other chemicals help rid food of the virus – such as bleach, vinegar, and lemon juice? No. Ingesting bleach can be very harmful. Neither vinegar nor lemon juice has any scientific proof they work to protect us either. Utilizing running cold water is best and may remove 90 to 99% of any harmful residue on the fresh foods we love and enjoy.
Do Old-Fashioned Methods Of Cleaning Food Work Best?
Again, common sense and simple cleaning methods are ways we can best protect our food and our health. Always question any random suggestions that are made relating to what we should do about food preparation that is not backed with scientific proof. Again, running cold water – no soap or chemicals – is best!
What Do I Do If I Feel Like I Have Purchased Contaminated Food?
The following information was published on March 17, 2020, on the FDA’s website in an article entitled, “Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”:
Is the U.S. food supply safe?
Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person. This includes between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. However, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness.
Have Any Legal Questions?
Cesar Ornelas Law Firm is committed to informing you of ways you can help yourself during this critical time. If, however, you have any legal questions that may need addressing, we are offering free consultations in order to alleviate matters of concerns you may have. Be safe, be informed, and be reassured. We are here for you.
You can read an article that goes into more detail on this subject and what is right and wrong in preparing food.