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Groceries and COVID-19


Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.

However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods. You should always wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature and put food in the fridge as soon as you can. 

Food shopping advice

  • Please don’t go shopping if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You can order your groceries online or have some family or friends drop them off instead.
  • When you go food shopping, you should wash your hands before you leave the house, avoid touching your face when you’re out and follow social distancing. 
  • When you come home, you should wash your hands straight away. Wash them again once you have unpacked and put away your shopping.
  • It is not necessary to sanitise the outside of food packaging. While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way.
  • If you are sanitising surfaces or shopping bags, follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how much time is needed before wiping the sanitiser off.
  • Gloves can give a false sense of security. They would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It’s better to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

Frequently asked questions

I’ve seen advice that it’s safer to leave your grocery shopping outside your home, like in your boot or garage, for a few hours before you bring it into your home. Is that true?

You should always put away your shopping as soon as you get home, especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer.

When I bring my grocery shopping into my home, could it be contaminated with the Corona virus? What do I have to do to make sure it is safe?

While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way. However, you should always put away your shopping as soon as you get home, especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer.

If I deliver food to a relative in isolation, what do I have to do it make sure it’s safe?

Firstly, if you show any symptoms, you should not offer to deliver food. If you can, please follow food shopping advice above, and it might be best to leave the shopping at the door.

If I have a take-away delivered, what should I do to make sure it’s safe?

You should wash your hands before and after handling the packaging.

I have heard that sanitizers can only be used three or four times and then hands must be washed properly in hot soapy water. Is that true?

Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers are a good option when you don’t have access to soap and water, such as when you're out and about.

Can I wash my hands with cold water and soap? The kids don’t like hot water. Is that adequate? 

The temperature of the water is not that significant. The most important thing is that you wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and dry your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Should I wash my reusable material shopping bag after each use?

It is not essential to do this, but if you prefer then you could wash a fabric bag at 60 degrees C or use a sanitizer on other shopping bags. Follow the sanitizer manufacturer’s instructions.

Should I wipe down my re-usable water bottle before every use?

Re-usable water bottles should always be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water between uses. You should not share your water bottle with anyone. As long as you follow normal food hygiene advice there is no need to take any extra steps.

I’m cocooning and I’m worried about the safety of the food being left at my door step. 

You should always put away food as soon as you can, especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer. While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way. However you should wash your hands once you have unpacked and put away your shopping.

I’ve just done some baking and want to leave items for my neighbours. What can I do to reassure them the food I made for them is safe?

Firstly, if you show any symptoms, you should not offer to deliver food. If you are baking you should always follow good hygiene practices. You should wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature and put food in the fridge as soon as you can. 

I bought too much. Is it ok to eat even if the date has expired?

You should always follow our advice on date markings on food labels. Remember the "use-by" date tells you when the food will become unsafe to eat, and the "best before" date tells you when the quality of the food will begin to deteriorate.

Should I wipe down/clean all food packaging coming into my house?

It is not necessary to sanitize the outside of food packaging. While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way.

You should follow the food shopping advice above and wash your hands before and after you go food shopping, and after you unpack your shopping.

Should I wear gloves when handling food packaging when unpacking it from a shop?

Gloves can give a false sense of security. They would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It’s better to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

When out food shopping, should I wear gloves and wipe down the basket/trolley I’m using?

Gloves can give a false sense of security. They would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It’s better to wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face.

Many shops are providing sanitiser to wipe trolley handles, as this is a high contact surface.

If someone is sick should they prepare food for anyone? 

If someone is sick it would be better for them not to prepare food for others. If this is unavoidable, they should wash hands frequently and follow good hygiene practices and respiratory and coughing etiquette.

If someone is sick in the house, what is the suggested hygiene with utensils and cutlery?

Utensils and cutlery should be washed in a dishwasher if possible, or washed thoroughly with hot, soapy water.

 

 



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