COVID-19 and Food - Are We Overreacting?

Apr 17, 2020

 by Lauren Cubellis

COVID-19 and Food - Are We Overreacting?


USDA.GOV: Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food, the food packaging, or food contact surfaces, if the coronavirus was present on it?

A: Currently there is no evidence of food of food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason it is important to follow the 4 key steps of food safety- clean, separate, cook and chill.



FDA.GOV: When preparing any fresh produce begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after food preparation.

· Cut away damaged or bruised produce

· Wash produce thoroughly under running water- not recommended to wash fruit/vegetables with soap detergent, or any commercial produce wash.

· Even if you do not plan to eat the skin, it is still important to wash produce first so dirt and bacteria are not transferred from the surface when peeling or cutting produce.

· After washing dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

· Cooking temperatures and times for coronavirus are not yet fully researched, but scientists suggest a temperature of 149 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 minutes is sufficient.



CDC, FDA and USDA are not aware of any reports at this time that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. Current evidence shows the biggest risk of transmission of COVID-19 is being around individuals who are symptomatic, or infected.


So what steps can someone take to minimize risk when shopping at the grocery store or ordering take-out and delivery?
· Use hand sanitizer when entering a store and wash hands and/or use sanitizer as soon as possible after leaving.

· Use the stores sanitizing wipes to wipe down carts, baskets, etc.

· Maintain social distancing as much as possible while navigating the store.

· Avoid touching surfaces or items unnecessarily and avoid touching your face.

· Do not go shopping when showing symptoms or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus.

· Follow the guidelines on food washing safe practices.


Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. It may be possible for a person get contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their mouth, nose, and/or eyes, but this is not thought to be the major way the virus is transmitted.



“Information derived from, “These resources are based on guidance and best practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO)”