Do we really need to disinfect our groceries during the coronavirus outbreak?

Do we really need to disinfect everything that comes into our home? (Getty Images)
Do we really need to disinfect everything that comes into our home? (Getty Images)

The way we go about our everyday lives has changed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

One of the bigger adjustments to life we’ve had to make is how to get groceries into our homes. With delivery slots in hot demand, many people have no choice but to head out to shops.

Either way, if you’ve found yourself deliberating what to do with all your bags of groceries when you get home or your delivery arrives, you’re not alone.

We’ve heard that the coronavirus can live on multiple surfaces, but does this mean we should be individually disinfecting our groceries?

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Luckily, the World Health Organization has deemed food packaging low-risk and says it is “very unlikely” that you would catch the coronavirus from food.

It does recommend that before and after you handle food, you should wash your hands. That means if you’ve got a delivery en-route, wash your hands before intercepting it.

And the food products that come into your home may have already been disinfected before they arrive.

The World Health Organization recommends that extra care should be taken by supermarket staff to clean products regularly.

“While food packaging is not known to present a specific risk,” it says, “efforts should be made to ensure it is cleaned and handled in line with usual food safety practices.”

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A Tesco spokesperson told Yahoo UK it “follows government guidelines and advice on food packaging”, which also sets out that if a supermarket worker is feeling unwell, they should listen to the government’s advice and stay at home.

Tesco is also “frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly” using standard cleaning products, in accordance with the government’s advice.

A woman wearing a mask walks past a delivery lorry for supermarket chain Tesco on Jermyn Street in London, England, on March 23, 2020. Across the UK a total of 335 patients who tested positive for the covid-19 coronavirus have now died, with the total number of positive tests this morning standing at 6,650. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A woman in a mask walks past a Tesco delivery lorry for supermarket chain Tesco in London. (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With most supermarkets also following the government’s food safety advice, it’s safe to say the chance of contracting the coronavirus through packaging is very low – although there’s certainly no harm in disinfecting food packaging when it comes into your house.

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What is a bigger risk, though, is going to the supermarket itself.

It can be hard to get a delivery slot, meaning you might have no choice but to venture out to a supermarket to get your essentials.

The risk of contracting coronavirus is significantly lowered if you follow the guidance from the government – which is now in place in many supermarkets.

The advice includes respecting social distancing, queueing with two metres in between each person and looking on the ground for markings guiding you to where you should be standing.

The best thing you can do is to make sure you regularly wash your hands. This is particularly important after touching higher-risk areas like trolley handles, baskets and self-checkout machines.

It’s also advised to wash your hands after putting your groceries away or accepting them into the house.

Regular hand-washing can go a long way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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