The FDA says there is no need to wipe the grocery store. CDC, epidemiology experts say the opposite.


The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that consumers do not have to worry about getting coronavirus from the grocery package.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and other experts say the opposite.

What does the FDA say?

In a statement posted on its website, the FDA wrote: “We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence that human or animal food or food packaging is associated with the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 “.

The organization does not cite the evidence – or, in this case, the lack of evidence – to support its claim.

He adds that although the COVID-19 virus is spread through person-to-person contact, it cannot be spread through “contaminated food”.

“This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illnesses and is spread from person to person, unlike gastrointestinal or gastrointestinal viruses, such as noroviruses and hepatitis A, which often make people sick with contaminated food,” adds the press release.

However, the organization is not investigating whether the virus is transmissible from contaminated surfaces, such as plastic milk cartons or cardboard pasta boxes.

He notes, however, that shoppers should wash their hands when they return from the grocery store, then again after putting the grocery store away.

“Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when you get home and after you have stored your groceries,” the statement said.

He also offers the idea of ​​wiping the groceries anyway – just as a precaution.

“If you want, you can wipe the product packaging and let it air dry, as an extra precaution,” he said.

What do others say?

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that while consumers may not necessarily be able to get COVID-19 from grocery packages, it is not unreasonable to take protective precautions appropriate.

“It is very unlikely that you will get it in packaging, but we know the virus can live on surfaces, for example, steel and plastic for up to three days. … We know he can live on cardboard for 24 hours. “

He later added, “From the respiratory droplets in the air, you can touch surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. I think it’s a very low probability … but being careful is a good idea. “

The CDC also notes: ” [T]the transmission of new coronaviruses to people from virus-contaminated surfaces has not been documented.

“Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours or days on surfaces made from various materials,” the organization added.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say the virus is “more stable” on surfaces like plastic – a common food container material – and steel compared to more porous surfaces like paper or the box.

“A viable virus has been detected for up to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces,” said one researcher. “On copper, no viable virus was measured after four hours or on cardboard after 24 hours. “

Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, who is an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UAB, adds: “The packages will come from a number of hands, and you may not know the status of the symptoms of everyone who touched him along the way. Wash your hands after opening and handling the package. It will kill the germs. “

Harvard University Medical School also advises taking the safest route.

“Recent studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can remain on surfaces or objects for up to 72 hours,” write the researchers. “This means that the virus on the surface of groceries will become inactive over time after the groceries are put away. If you must use the products before 72 hours, consider washing the exterior surfaces or wiping them with disinfectant. The contents of sealed containers will not be contaminated. “

“After you unpack your groceries, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” say the researchers. “Wipe the surfaces you’ve placed the groceries on while unpacking them with household disinfectants. “

The conclusion?

Wipe your groceries and countertops after grocery shopping – then wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Prevention is better than cure.


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