“Is our food supply safe?”
It’s one of the TOP questions people have about the COVID-19 coronavirus beyond the actual symptoms.
We all have those memorized by now. At least the common ones. And we’re practically paranoid about every shiver, cough, and sneeze.
But we’re all getting a little skittish over our FOOD.
Because even if we follow the rules… Even if we stay at home… Even if we have NO CONTACT with ANYONE else…
We still gotta eat, right?
When you read about all the infections among workers at supermarkets, meat plants, Amazon facilities, and even delivery drivers, you have to wonder.
Is the FOOD from these places safe? And can COOKING make it safer?
Can the COVID-19 virus survive on food?
First, the mostly good news. Your food is safe. Probably.
There are NO signs that people are getting the infection from food. And as gross as the thought is, even if someone does sneeze into your dinner — even if they cough a lungful of coronavirus right onto your meal — most experts agree you likely WON’T get sick.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, so eating it is NOT how it spreads. The acids in your stomach –- your first line of defense against so many microbes –- would likely kill any virus that against-all-odds somehow managed to survive on food.
Again, probably. We’re learning new things about this virus every day. So what we know now could evolve.
But keep in mind if food were making people sick with coronavirus, we’d almost certainly have a TON of case reports on that by now. And we don’t.
5 tips for eating safer in the age of the pandemic
However, there ARE some common sense precautions you can take to help you eat safer in the age of coronavirus.
- Your food comes in packages that have been handled by others. So it’s a good idea to wipe them down when bringing them home and then wash your hands
- Wash your hands before handling the food you’re about to cook, of course. And rewash them when you’re done and before eating.
- You can also rinse your vegetables with water, or a food-safe spray sold for cleaning produce, to remove any germs clinging to the surface. (This won’t remove any pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, but that’s a story for another day – and a reason to go organic.)
- Anything that has to be cooked should be cooked to the proper temperature. There is no specific guidance yet on temperatures to kill this coronavirus. Still, it’s quite likely that COVID-19 would not survive for long during cooking.
- And, of course, make sure your leftovers are stored correctly in the fridge.
These steps may help protect you from potential coronavirus contamination. Plus, they can also shield you from other microbes, including the ones MORE likely to be lurking on your food such as E. coli and salmonella.