The Surprising Truth About Sanitizing Your Groceries


At no other time in recent history have groceries
dominated so many headlines. Major media outlets are talking about everything from grocery
shortages to grocery delivery to grocery workers and how to shop for groceries safely. What about when you get those groceries home
though? The opinions on whether or not you should sanitize your groceries are somewhat
mixed, even among health experts. One video made by physician Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen that
advised washing fruits and vegetables with soapy water, took the internet by storm and
racked up millions of views. Benjamin Chapman, a professor and food safety specialist, saw
things differently, though, and said that the risk of an upset stomach from ingesting
soap wasn’t worth it and advised against VanWingen’s recommendation. “For me, I’m not treating my produce any differently
than I would be if I was worried about food safety in produce before.” VanWingen also advised that people keep their
groceries in the garage for several days in case the virus was on the packaging. Chapman
also disagreed with this. He explained: “We don’t have any evidence that food or food
packaging are transmission vehicles for coronavirus.” But wait just a second…The National Institutes
of Health says on their website that because SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,
can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, that people could contract it through touching,
quote, “contaminated objects.” You also might be wondering, “But what about other types
of materials like plastic and steel?” Well, we’ve got some bad news… “According to the New England Journal of Medicine,
the virus can linger on plastic and steel for three days. That includes containers,
door knobs, even toys.” Does this mean we should spray everything
we buy with Lysol and throw those potentially deadly cardboard boxes in the trash before
they can pass along COVID-19? Infectious disease expert and President of ACCESS Health International,
Dr. William Haseltine, told People that food packaging poses little risk of virus transmission
and sanitizing your groceries might be, quote, “a little too much.” The USDA says that so far, they’re, quote,
“not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can
be transmitted by food or food packaging.” That’s somewhat reassuring, except for those
words “so far.” It’s always a good idea to rinse your produce when you get it home, though,
especially in these strange times. Food microbiologist Donald Schaffner agreed
with his colleagues that there’s no evidence COVID-19 is spreading through food or food
packaging. Taking the extra step to clean your groceries just isn’t necessary, in his
opinion. He said: “I am not recommending disinfecting your groceries.
This seems like being overly cautious.” The downside is that, while most experts agree
there’s little chance of transmission through food or food packaging, there’s still a lot
to learn about the virus. While Schaffner believes that food transmission of coronavirus
is unlikely, he told The Guardian, quote, “That doesn’t mean we might not learn new
evidence tomorrow that would change our thoughts on that.” Probably the safest measure, for now, is to
practice proper safe shopping at the grocery store or while getting food takeout/delivery.
The safest thing is to avoid close contact with others and to do your best to keep that
social distance of six feet at all times. “While you’re shopping, make sure you maintain
that social distance of approximately six feet for your safety and the safety of others.” And again, wash those hands! If you can avoid
using cash that’s also probably a good idea. Cash has always been a haven for germs and
if you can pay with your card or through a phone app, all the better. So while most experts say that sanitizing
your groceries isn’t believed to be necessary at this point, what if you do want to be overly
cautious, just in case? If you’re super worried about your groceries’
packaging being contaminated, Dr. Haseltine suggests that you “wear gloves when you open
the packages.” You may also want to place any grocery or food delivery bags on the floor
or in the sink rather than on your countertops when unloading them. And, as always, wash
your hands thoroughly after handling said bags. The main takeaway here is that while sanitizing
your groceries isn’t necessary at this time, washing your hands frequently and disinfecting
surfaces in your home is your best precaution against transmission. Check out one of our newest videos right here!
Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube
channel and hit the bell so you don’t miss a single one.

Comments 55

  • Are you washing your groceries?

  • It might be because my family is insane but I thought washing your groceries was normal? Fruit and veggies can have dirt on them and cans/jars can have rat pee on them, it makes sense to wash em

  • Dr. Bronners Castille Soap is food safe and comes in multiple flavors. You can also brush your teeth, bathe, wash your dishes, etc. Health food grocers will have it, and also many regular chain grocers. Some choices are mint, lavender, hemp, citrus, rosemary and others. I use it regularly to wash produce.

  • I always want them with fruit and vegetables. The upset stomach spill is bullshit. Soap is a laxative but you have to interest quite a bit. Just rinse the damn vegetables. I've been sanitizing all my groceries.

  • I mean growing up my mom always washed her meat with water and lemons ?‍♂️ this is no different

  • I rinsed all the groceries

  • All this talk about Groceries.
    What about sanitizing your toilet paper???

  • Remember when the experts told us not to wear mask?! ? I’ll be cleaning my food containers! ?

  • Just don’t be stupid and spray your produce with disinfectant. That’ll kill you faster than the virus. Yes, some people are that stupid.

  • Chapman is an idiot

  • Sorry to break it to you, but THIS says otherwise.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Otherwise.svg

  • Chapman: Don’t wash your food or whip them down they can transfer the Virus

    “Be careful with money” ??‍♂️

  • So I'm trying to follow the logic here it has been established this virus survives for hours in some cases days on cardboard steel Plastics, the three dominant sources of Packaging.. but yet your position is sanitizing food packages Maybe taking it too far?…. I'm not sure the virus is aware there is food on the other side and as a result will Opt out and move on solely for our benefit.. or maybe it does and you're just not, with that trust inspiring voice telling us…yet.?…..

  • Better safe than sorry, I wash everything before bringing it into the house, I have animals that put their noses into everything which then can transmit it to me or someone I love, I then transfer everything to a well cleaned cloth bag and place on the floor, never set anything on my counters, and at least wash your fruits and vegetables with hot water, I do that then transfer them into a ziploc baggies, just for extra safety, do you know how many people touch things in the stores not including the customers, that grab things then put it back, i'm not taking any chances.

  • I was raised to wash produce and cans before opening. I don't know what happened that people didn't do that anyway. When I drank beer I washed off the can. And my produce is always stored in the produce drawers of the fridge. Never trusted pantry storage. But I don't hoard either

  • I wash all my food if its fruit or packed food, beers 😛 and wash cash ofc clean cash is happy cash

  • Buy frozen fruits and vegetables, if you want…disinfect the packaging. Stay home. End of story.

  • One month late News ?.

  • Don't use cash because the virus can live on it for a few hours. Instead hand them that plastic card and let them swipe it through a machine that everyone else's plastic card has also been swiped through. Because the virus can live on that plastic for days.

  • When possible, deliveries are taken at the far end of the garage. I spray rubbing alcohol over the bags or boxes. After 20-30 minutes, I bring perishables into the house and transfer contents into other containers as needed. Fruits such as apples & oranges are rinsed & vigorously rubbed for at least 20 seconds. For delicate fruits like berries, the outside of the container is wiped with a towel sprayed with alcohol, & stored in the fridge. Non-perishable items are moved to a designated area to sit for at least 3 days before the individual containers are wiped down with alcohol, then brought into the house. Hands are thoroughly washed with soap & water between steps to avoid cross-contamination.

  • Put all your groceries in the oven for 10 min ?????

  • The way that girl washed her hands was annoying. Who the hell taught this woman to wash her hand like that. 4:06

  • CVD19 lifespan on surfaces as follows; Airborne—30 mins to 3 Hours, Cardboard—24 Hours, Stainless Steel—2 Days, and Plastics—3 Days. No-brainer, everyone properly disinfect groceries and wear a mask while at public venues.

  • Definitely wash everything, especially if you’re quarantined to home and you got nothing else to do. Name one “GOOD” reason why you wouldn’t wash everything? Someone might be afraid it’s not going to spread fast enough. ?

  • I member in january when WHO said that china found no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the covid-19. And here we are three month later.

    Do you member?

  • I enjoyed the money shot with the apples.

  • I have always washed my groceries

  • Spray the outside of your non-perishables would alcohol if you have it. As an old habit I always wash the egg before I even cracked it

  • I am still wiping/washing stuff off and throwing away bags. I don’t care what they say. Little chance is still a chance. Common sense!

  • Yeah I'm not taking my chances. Still wiping everything down and washing my groceries.. nasty. No wonder the numbers are so high, I'm not listening to these "experts".

  • Riot control

  • I’d rather be “overly cautious” than sick or dead! SMH

  • When experts say "there is no evidence anyone has contracted that virus from handling groceries" they mean, no one has actually collected data to verify the matter. It doesn't mean the data is not there, just that no one has collected any of it and looked at it. Remember, these are the same experts who never considered that transmission of the virus could go back and forth between humans and their pets but now say it can happen, or who said don't wear a mask unless you are sick but now say it's a good idea to do so. If someone who has the virus asymptomatically handles any of those groceries (and there are many hands that do) or is a bagger in a grocery store, that virus is now on those surfaces, potentially for hours or days. When you touch them, it is now on your hands, when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, it is now in your body. Protect yourself and your family.

  • Experts: “there is no evidence of what we don’t yet know”

  • The sad thing to me is.. I fear that another six-months of constant hand washing and sanitizing could trigger dermatitis and/or skin cancer in more people than SARS-CoV-2 (a coronavirus) triggered COVID-19 (a disease). I was hoping that summer temps might slow the spreading, but it's already over 80 F in GA and infections in our state keep rising. Plus, we are killing so many good bacteria while fighting this nasty virus. P.S. PLEASE folks, stop buying up all the toilet paper.. this is NOT the butt flu.

  • GroSSSeries…. ?

  • “ No reports at this time “. That’s reassuring. Let me be the first one to have this happen so I can be your report. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I do not want to be the first so I will keep adhering to the highest precautions.

  • Bad advice from the WHO, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CCP.

  • Well i do the basics in cleaning some things like rinse veg before I eat it but yeah I don't do anymore and I don't put it in the garage or anything else and so far I am ok. So whatever guys.

  • No evidence for something =/= Evidence against something

  • Wash them with salt not soap.

  • Never thought mash would be selling fears. Un subscribed

  • If you’re cooking anyway, I think there’s no need to sanitize them. Just wash your hands before and after handling grocery goods.

  • When it comes to YOUR LIFE theirs no such thing as OVER CAUTIOUS !!!

  • I think it's crazy for people especially Doctors to say cleaning anything is overboard when it's still alot they dont know about this. Dont put your health and life in anybody's hands that dont know 100 % the ends and outs of this virus protect yourself at all cost theirs no such thing as overboard when it's you that will be infected

  • Clean produce with a quick run with if apple cider vinegar and water, don’t soak it

  • Global paranoia! !

  • The day i have to sterilize groceries is the day i say Lord take me home….nuts.?

  • Remember they said no mask, now they are saying wear mask. The point is that this is a new virus and even the scientists dont know as yet how it behaves. Better safe than sorry. Wipe down your grocery, discard of packaging, How long will this take to do?

  • People are sanitizing themselves in to a weak immune system.

  • It turns out that this virus can last up to 3 months in a fridge, so if your groceries are bumping next to unprotected veg in the fridge then it would be no surprise if that veg got contaminated, it's simple logic.

    So the safest thing to do is to wash your veg, wash your cartons, and keep everything in the fridge as clean as possible.

    It might be an idea to use a UV-c sanitizer light in the fridge from time to time to ensure you kill off as much of the virus as possible.

    But think about it logically, if the virus can remain on packages and hard surfaces for hours or months in a fridge or freezer then logic dictates that the packaging that surround your food could be contaminated and if it isn't then the companies that make this packaging have found a way to kill the virus which we are not privileged to, they need to bottle it and sell it with their groceries.

    Think how many times those bags would have been picked up put down touched, handled scanned or whatever then transported in your car or on your motorcycle before being handled and touched and placed once more.

    Oh and don't forget to sanitize your tooth brush.

  • "Little" chance? If it can live on a surface for up to 3 days….. I will wipe down my groceries or set them in the garage for 4 days. This is war and I am in it to win it.

  • It’s insane to not sanitise your groceries as the people are touching the food while they make a choice.

  • If you can get it from touching a book; then what would prevent you from getting it from a container? Same thing.

  • what's next? walking in a spacesuit?

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