Ways to keep you and your food safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

As novel coronavirus spread around the world, it has quickly turned crowded areas into empty spaces.

People have no choice but to stay at home and prepare meals that come from their own kitchen. With that, here are some things that one should know in relation to food safety.

Currently, there are no reports that say that coronavirus can be transmitted via food or food packaging, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). However, just like the common cold and flu, the virus can be transmitted and remain on surfaces that can last for an unknown period of time. Therefore, it can also be transferred if an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches food, preparation tools, and areas.

With this, preparing food at home should be done with best practices by following standard food-safety protocol. This includes making sure that surfaces and tools are washed regularly, washing hands before and after touching food, and lastly, keeping raw and cooked preparation areas separated or divided.

According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, cooking food for about 30 minutes at 140 degrees’ Fahrenheit kills the virus. Hence, well-cooked food is the safest option in avoiding the risks of getting the disease.

Practices in buying and washing food 

In buying and shopping food supplies, it is recommended to avail of delivery services through ordering commodities online. If buying in supermarkets, make sure to bring hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to disinfect the cart before and after shopping. To avoid contact and minimize the spread of the virus, it is best to pay by covering your hands with plastic.  

In terms of stocking food, buy food that will help boost one’s immune system. A tip from an international dietitian named Emily Edison is that pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are a great addition to salad. According to her, frozen fruits and veggies are also great for longer storage, especially during this outbreak.

In washing the food, using cool water is a good option, especially when the produce comes from the supermarkets that are typically stored at a temperature of 50 degrees or so.

A professor and food-safety specialist from the University of Maine prefers the produce to be washed including homemade ‘natural’ liquid made out of lemon juice and vinegar to ensure a balanced temperature between the produce and the water so that the produce won’t allow bacteria to sink on the surface. Sanitizing tools and preparation areas is also as important as washing the produce.

It is recommended by the Washington State Department of Health that those people who are coughing, feverish, or feeling any signs of illness should keep a distance away from the preparation area and should not prepare the food itself. To reduce the risk of the spread of the virus, it is important to always wash your hands as often as needed before and during food preparation. And lastly, fruits and vegetables should be rinsed before cutting and eating.

In times like these, being extra careful would help in preventing the spread of the virus. Therefore, doing these practices will help in maintaining one’s household clean and healthy.  

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