Though the government is advising citizens to stay at home to prevent the coronavirus contagion, you have to step outside home sometimes to collect food for staying alive. You can unintentionally invite the life-threatening coronavirus at your home while shopping or processing groceries, if necessary protective and sanitization measures are not taken. During the grievous situation of COVID19 pandemic some precautions can keep you and your family safe and healthy. Here goes a simple guideline about how to shop and disinfect groceries safely during COVID19 pandemic situation. Stay with us!
How to Shop Groceries Safely during COVID19 Pandemic
Make a Grocery List
Remember that it can be dangerous to go for shopping frequently several times a week. So try to prepare a grocery-list in advance. It would be wise, if you can purchase groceries for one to two weeks at a time. However, stay away from buying groceries more than you need; otherwise it may create temporary shortages.
Personal Protective Measures during Shopping
Don’t forget to wear a face-mask before leaving your home. Carry an alcohol (60-70%) based hand sanitizer and wipes in your bag to wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket. Take a clean shopping bag from home. If possible, visit a less busy grocery store to avoid excess crowd.
While shopping, practice minimum 6 feet of social distancing between you, the grocery store employees, and other shoppers. Refrain from touching your eyes or any other part of your face with hands. If possible try to use credit/debit cards to pay the bills. After completing your shopping and paying bills, don’t forget to disinfect your hands with an Alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Safety Measures after Returning Home
After entering home, put off your shoes in a designated space. Then drop the grocery bags in a specific corner of your kitchen to protect your home from Corona Virus contamination. Next, wash your hands properly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
How to Disinfect Groceries during COVID19 Pandemic
Unpack Groceries Safely
The basic food safety process has four simple steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Eat. Try to unpack the groceries including meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruits, milk, and other perishables within two hours from returning from the shop. Throw the container packs into your bins. For reusable grocery bags, it would be wise to leave them untouched for two days at least.
Sanitizing Food with Vinegar/Baking Soda
Now follow some DIY techniques to disinfect your fruits and veggies. Add some amount of white distilled vinegar to a bowl of water. Alternatively, you can mix one ounce of baking soda in 100 ounce of water. Stir the mixture properly with a spoon. Then drench the fruits, and/or leafy vegetables in that bowl. Leave the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes so that the fruits/veggies can soak properly.
After that, rinse your fruit/veggies under running water to remove the particles and scent of vinegar/ baking soda. You can scrub the vegetables and fruits with a clean brush. After washing, leave those food items in open air for drying before you start slicing, cooking or eating. Clean lids before opening canned goods.
How to Disinfect Your Kitchen Counter
After sanitizing groceries, and/or cutting raw meats/poultry/fish, it is highly essential to disinfect your kitchen counter.
You can apply any commercially available sanitizer product. You can also create a DIY disinfecting solution. Mix five tablespoons of unscented liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Use this solution to clean the kitchen counter. However, don’t apply this solution on food.
In addition to these, you can apply clean, hot, soapy water to scrub and disinfect any utensils like knife, chopping board, etc which you have used to process the raw meat/poultry/fish.
Cautionary Steps when You Buy Groceries Online
Even if the online grocery stores are supposed to send grocery items in thoroughly cleaned bags, you need to take the same safety measures to prevent the risk of Corona virus contagion.
Try to avoid a direct hand-off. You can arrange a space near your door step where the delivery man can place the grocery bags. Wear a mask and use hand gloves while you pay the bills and carry the grocery bags to the designated space of your kitchen. Wash your hands properly. Then apply the sanitizing process we discussed in the above section.