Our Foods From Grocery Stores

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Day 06 – Stay Home Order

One of the questions most of us have in our mind in this current coronavirus pandemic season is that how safe are our foods from grocery stores? “The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind the public that there is no evidence of the coronavirus pandemic posing a threat to food safety”, according to the CNN updates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that though the virus has been detected in feces of infected patients, there’s no evidence yet that COVID-19 sickens people through their digestive systems.

FDA Suggestions

In a call with CNN reporters on Thursday, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response Frank Yiannas is reported to saying:

  • The food supply remains safe for both people and animals. There is no — and I emphasize no — evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of Covid-19.
  • It’s much more likely that an infected person will spread the virus through person-to-person transmission than from contaminated food or food packaging.
  • If a person who works in a food facility tests positive for Covid-19, the FDA does not anticipate that there would need to be a massive recall or withdrawal of food products from the market.
  • Specifically for consumers, we advise you that you follow many of the same guidelines that you heard before the spread of the disease.
  • He urged people who go grocery shopping to “adhere to good hygiene practices such as disinfecting grocery cart handles with the wipes often provided by retailers.”
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth. After shopping, wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Again, we don’t believe that food packaging is a common route of transmission.

I personally do not sanitize the exterior of food packages when I bring them into my home. If you feel so inclined you can always wipe the surface of the packages when you get home with a disinfectant wipe and then air drying them.

Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response (source: CNN)

Respiratory Viruses Transmission

In an article on Star Tribune, associated press reporter Candice Choi writes very eloquently ‘Why health experts aren’t warning about coronavirus in food‘ and its because most experts believe that ‘it may be harder for viruses to survive on food itself’. She further writes in the article:

  • Most respiratory viruses like flu spread through person-to-person contact and air droplets from coughing, sneezing or other flying saliva.
  • Food-borne diseases like diarrhea are cause by germs are transmitted via feces & poor hygiene through peoples hand and whatever they touch.
  • Covid19 risks in food is believed more with contacts with other customers and employee rather than the food itself.
  • Covid19 is reported to survive in some surfaces and thus avoid touching faces with hands while shopping. Wash hands after unpacking groceries at home.
  • Experts believe that “it may be harder for viruses to survive on food itself”.

Cover-19 Spread Through Food

According to the CDC website, our hands with soap & water for 20 seconds should be washed before preparing or eating food for general safety. It further states that “because of because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures”.

Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.

FAQ | CDC Website

The recent FDA’s Food Code recommendations for hand washing and glove use in food states “employees may not contact exposed, ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single use-gloves, or dispensing equipment. If your task requires direct contact with ready-to-eat food, wash your hands and the exposed portions of your arms for 20 seconds prior to donning gloves and before touching food or food-contact surfaces. Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.”

Additionally, The New York Times has great resource on ‘What Are the Symptoms?’ ‘Is There a Cure?’ and Other Coronavirus Questions, making it another handy go-to resource.

Another Deadliest Day in US

April 1 was reported to be another deadliest day with more than 1,000 deaths from covid-19 in a 24-hour period with more than 5,000 death as of April 2 morning. Nearly 96% of Americans have been ordered to stay at home as of Thursday morning, according the CNN updates. There were 5 death in 24-hour in Minnesota making its total to 17, as of Wednesday. In Minnesota, there are 54 people are hospitalized and 27 of them are in ICU, according MDH website.

Coronavirus Watch

The MDH latest tally (as of April 1), the confirmed case in Minnesota is 689 (out of 21,191 tested) from 53 counties with 17 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of April 2, 5:30 a.m.) there are 216,722 confirmed covid19 infection with 5,137 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 951,901 with 48,284 deaths.

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