As public health measures to deal with COVID-19 gradually ease, safefood is reminding people of the steps they can take to protect themselves when food shopping and storing food at home.
Safefood is encouraging shoppers to visit safefood.eu for practical advice and tips on food shopping and storage to ensure the health and safety is top of mind.
“Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods. You should always wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature and put food in the fridge as soon as you can.
“A question we’re being asked a lot is whether people should wash or disinfect food packaging when they bring it home from shopping”, continued Dr Gordon. “The simple answer is no – it’s not necessary to sanitize the outside of food packaging as there is no current evidence that the virus can be transmitted in this way. The main risk of transmission is from close contact with infected people. Our advice is to maintain good hygiene habits and to wash your hands regularly and to follow current public health guidelines re social distancing.
“With many people cooking a lot more than they usually do, Dr Gordon also had advice on how to deal with leftovers. “Typically, if there is food left over after a meal, get it into the fridge within two hours – you can help cool it more quickly by dividing it into smaller portions. However, remember that cooked rice is high-risk and must be cooled and put in the fridge within one hour. Any leftovers properly stored should be eaten with three days but if you’re in any doubt, throw it out into your brown bin,” Dr. Linda Gordon, Chief Specialist in Microbiology with safefood, said.
The recent increases in online food shopping also highlight the importance of storing and handling food at home properly.
“As we would normally do, put away shopping as soon as you get it, especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer and always wash your hands after handling any food packaging and before you begin to prepare food. If you’re going food shopping for yourself or others, wash your hands before you go and, as soon as you come home and again after you unpack your shopping,” Dr. Gordon remarked.
For more information and practical advice about food, food shopping and COVID-19 on the safefood website at https://www.safefood.eu/Food-Safety/Groceries-and-COVID-19.aspx.