COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that spreads through direct contact with an infected person and droplets but touching your mouth, nose and eyes after touching an infected surface can also cause infection.1 According to recent data it is unlikely to get infected by touching the food prepared at home, eating at the restaurants or contacting with ordered products.2,3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports no COVID-19 cases thought to be related to foods, food packages or shopping bags. However there are some prevention methods to minimize the infection risk and to prevent foodborne illnesses.4
Best precaution to eliminate infection risk is to practice proper hand hygiene. Hands must be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds with proper technique before and after shopping, after receiving food delivery, before preparing meal and before eating meal. After shopping, all food packages must be removed and disposed in a garbage can with a lid.2,3,4 Canned food containers must be cleaned before opening the lid.3,5
According to American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) National Poison Data System (NPDS) there is a significant increase in poisoning cases related to disinfectants and cleaning agents during COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey conducted with 502 adult USA citizens by CDC in May 2020, 39% of the respondents reported engaging in at least one of the high-risk practices that is not recommended by CDC with the intent of preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission. 19% of the respondents reported using bleach for disinfection of fresh produces.6
Fresh produces must not be cleaned and disinfected with chemicals such as bleach or soap.5 Due to the porous structure of many produces, these chemicals can be absorbed which will cause a change in taste and safety of the produce.7 For this reason cleaning the fresh produce under running cold water is the most favorable way. Same application can be used for the produces with inedible rind. Produces with firm rind can be brushed with an appropriate brush.3,5 Food packages must not be cleaned and disinfected with chemicals such as bleach.3,8,9 If desired, packages can be wiped down and air dryed as an extra precaution.5
It is enough for utensils, pots and pans used in preparation and consumption of foods to be cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher with a hot rinse cycle. In the absence of dishwasher, water and dish soap should be used for cleaning and sanitizing.8 Kitchen counters must be cleaned and disinfected frequently with appropriate cleaning products and disinfected surfaces must be rinsed before preparing food.5
1 WHO, COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance For Food Businesses, 11.09.2020 tarihinde https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331705/WHO-2019-nCoV-Food_Safety-2020.1-eng.pdf adresinden erişilmiştir.
2 CDC, Running Errands, 11.09.2020 tarihinde https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/essential-goods-services.html adresinden erişilmiştir.
3 UNICEF, Handling And Preparing Food, 11.09.2020 tarihinde https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/cleaning-and-hygiene-tips-help-keep-coronavirus-covid-19-out-your-home#food adresinden erişilmiştir.
4 CDC, Food Safety, 11.09.2020 tarihinde https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/food-and-COVID-19.html adresinden erişilmiştir.
5 FDA, Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Information for Consumers, 11.09.2020 tarihinde https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/shopping-food-during-covid-19-pandemic-information-consumers adresinden erişilmiştir.
6 CDC, Knowledge and Practices Regarding Safe Household Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Prevention, 16.09.2020 tarihinde https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6923e2.htm?s_cid=mm6923e2_w#F2_down adresinden erişilmiştir.
7 United States Department of Agriculture, Guide to Washing Fresh Produce, 16.09.2020 tarihinde https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resource/Guide%20to%20Washing%20Fresh%20Produce508.pdf adresinden erişilmiştir.
8 BC Center For Disease Control, Cleaning and Disinfecting, 11.09.2020 tarihinde http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/prevention-risks/cleaning-and-disinfecting adresinden erişilmiştir.
9 UC Davis Health, How To Safely Grocery Shop During Coronavirus (COVID-19), 11.09.2020 tarihinde, https://health.ucdavis.edu/good-food/blog/grocery-shopping-during-covid19.html adresinden erişilmiştir.
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