How to clean your produce from the grocery store amid coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus Updates
Cleaning produce and making sure it's safe to eat

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – With the concerns of being infected with COVID-19, grocery stores are taking mandates from state and national officials to do away with seating options and limiting mass gatherings. These measures are to keep customers safe preventing a further spread of the virus.

Officials with the Utah Health Department say it’s best to grocery shop during non-peak hours to limit exposure to a large amount of people.

The pandemic also has supermarket personnel and customers worried about the safety and packaging of food and the exposure of produce.

Although, there is no current evidence that food or packaging has any association with the transmission of COVID-19, there are some best practices we should all consider when purchasing produce.

ABC4.com spoke with Andrea Gamble, environmental health scientist of the Salt Lake County Health Department about the best way to clean your produce. Gamble says the Food and Drug Administration recommends to use running water from the faucet to wash fruits and vegetables. The FDA says for effective cleaning, the water should be the same temperature as the produce you’re washing.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Gamble

If an individual was washing an item that’s room temperature, they would use the same temperature water. Same goes for if they were washing something that’s been in a cold temperature.

Video courtesy of Andrea Gamble

While shopping for produce, Gamble says to make sure the produce doesn’t have any bruises or knicks on it, and the fruit or vegetable is still in-tact.

Once the produce has been selected and ready for purchase, Andrea Gamble says it is best to place those items in the provided plastic bags, as the produce has the potential for more harmful contact such as the conveyer belt where many items are placed, the belt could have also had a recent spill of some sort of liquid on it.

Related: How long does coronavirus live on certain surfaces?

Once the produce arrives to its destination, remove all produce from the bag then discard it, as the plastic may carry potential virus particles.

Most importantly Gamble says we should all make sure to wash your hands before and after cleaning any produce.

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