As grocery shopping remains a must during this pandemic, many people are worried about how to shop safely. We want to inform customers that there is currently no evidence that human or animal food or food packaging is associated with coronavirus transmission that triggers COVID-19. In comparison to foodborne gastrointestinal viruses or gastrointestinal viruses such as norovirus and hepatitis A, the coronavirus causes respiratory illness and spreads from human to person. While your grocery store may be out of such items on a temporary basis, there is no national food shortage. Food processing and manufacturing is distributed throughout the United States. During this pandemic, customers are buying much of their food from grocery stores, and many stores have changed their hours of operation to give more time to restock and clean the shelves.
The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the food and general merchandise industries that are still in the midst of the digital revolution. Based on the fast-moving expectations of a shopper’s reality, the global pandemic is sending shock waves into the ways we used to live our daily lives. While the increase in online shopping, delivery systems, mobile check-outs, online orders, in-store pick-ups (BOPIS), channel blurring and more have already permeated shopping experience, the industry could not have expected the seismic change in that direction triggered by the crisis. With the pandemic shifting both conventional and modern habits, tomorrow’s customers will certainly see their mind-set change from the pre-COVID-19 lens to the post-COVID-19 lens when purchasing goods and services.
To protect yourself, store workers and other shoppers, it is important to keep certain things in mind:
- Prepare your shopping list in advance. Buy just 1 to 2 weeks worth of food at a time. Buying more than you need can lead to unnecessary demand and temporary shortages.
- Wear a facemask when you’re in the shop. Some stores and locations may need it. Check your country, county or city guidelines for any other criteria.
- Carry your own wipes, or use one from the store to clean the handles of a shopping cart or basket. If you use reusable shopping bags, make sure they are cleaned or washed before use.
- Practice social distancing when shopping – maintaining at least 6 feet between you, other customers, and your staff. Keep your hands out of your face.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before you go home and again after you have finished your meal.
- Again, there is no evidence that food packaging is related to the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe away the packaging of the product and allow it to dry out as an extra precaution.
It is necessary, as always, to follow these food safety practices to help prevent foodborne illness:
- Until eating, rinse fresh fruit and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not consumed. Scrub firm manufactures a clean brush for manufacturing. Care to clean the lids for canned goods before opening.
- Refrigerate meat, poultry, ovens, seafood and other pereza within 2 hours of purchase for the unpackage, such as vegetables, salads or herbs and mushrooms.
- Clean and sanitise kitchen counters everyday using a commercially available disinfectant product or DIY sanitising solutions.
- Bear in mind the four basic food safety steps — Clean, Isolate, Prepare, and Chill.
Before you go to the store
- Consider if you even need to go shopping: Americans are advised to stay home as much as possible, and that means restricting trips to the grocery store. So if you just need a few things, try to get along with what you’ve got and schedule a major shopping trip later.
- Delivery may be an alternative instead: delivering food helps minimise the number of people going to stores and touching items, and helps people to obey social distancing guidelines. It also helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to people who are infected but do not show symptoms.
- If you can’t get a delivery, try purchasing at an off-peak hour and purchase as many things as you can from one shop.
- Don’t carry the entire family: it’s better to shop on your own. This helps to minimise the number of customers going to shops. If necessary, keep your children at home to minimise the exposure of your relatives.
- Don’t go if you have symptoms: it’s very important not to go shopping if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you have been exposed to the virus. In these situations, you should only leave your home to seek medical attention. If you need supplies, ask a friend or someone else to get them and leave them out of your house.
At the Store
- Sanitize your hands often: use a hand sanitizer before entering and leaving the shop. You should also suggest using a hand sanitizer before and after choosing the products made. If your store doesn’t have disinfection wipes, carry your own cart wipes, basket handles, and card readers.
- Wear a mask: the CDC now suggests that people wear a fabric cover when they go out, even when they go to a grocery store. This suggestion is intended to avoid the spread of COVID-19 to people who are infected but do not know it because they do not have symptoms.
- Practice social distance: as in any public environment, you should keep at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others.
- Just touch what you’re buying: try not to touch things needlessly. That means, for example, don’t pick up several output products to try to find the ripest one.
- Gloves are not required: wearing gloves at the store is not necessary because gloves get dirty the same way your hands do. It’s important to wash or sanitise your hands before and after entering the store. But if you want to wear gloves, use disposable gloves and remove them before you get into your vehicle, while you’re walking, or when you get home if you’re on foot or by public transport, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- Don’t touch your face: stop rubbing your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands unwashed.
When you get back home
- Wash your hands: after handling food packaging, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.
- Don’t leave your food outside: while some people on social media have proposed that you leave your grocery store in your garage for three days to kill the virus, that’s bad advice. Not only is it not scientifically established, it is also a matter of food safety. Leaving food outdoors, in your garage or car, can mean that food is not stored at the correct temperature to prevent bacterial growth; and it may also increase the risk of pests such as rodents.
- Rinse your produce: it’s always a good idea — even if there’s no pandemic — to rinse fresh fruit and vegetables with water to remove soil, debris and pesticides and reduce the amount of foodborne germs.
- Wiping food packaging is not necessary: there is no evidence that touching food packaging is related to the transmission of the latest coronavirus. However, if you are worried, you can wipe out the packaging of the product and allow it to air dry as an extra precaution.
- Wash reusable bags: If you use reusable shopping bags, you can wash them after a trip to the supermarket, either by placing them in the laundry room (for cloth bags) or by using soap or other plastic bag disinfectants.
Food is a source of warmth and food for you and your family – especially now – and we hope that this advice will help you continue to buy food with care and trust.