Sunday, March 29, 2020

Food Safety Tips – what to know during the coronavirus pandemic

Everyone seems to have some hints and advice as to how we can stay safe and keep ourselves healthy during this coronavirus pandemic.  More of us are staying home and cooking at home.  What are some food safety tips to keep you and your family safe?

What are the dietitians recommending?  
  •  Before cooking anything – be smart and wash those hands.  Always a good practice before the virus hit our country and now handwashing has become even more important.  Dry your hands with paper towels. 
  • Eat well but avoid any supplements that promise to treat or cure COVID-19.  There are many ways to boost your immune system by eating healthy foods.  Read more at:  Diet Tips to Boost Your Immune System. 
Eat This, Not That! Has some recommendations on food safety:
Wash produce before eating.
  • Wash that produce – if you aren’t going to cook it, be sure to wash carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, other produce under running water.  Rinse away the virus. 
  • Keep surfaces clean – cleaning is one step but sanitizing surfaces is another step.  One doesn’t need Clorox wipes to sanitize the sink and counter tops.  Just 4 teaspoons of bleach in a quart of water – and you have a good sanitizing solution that will kill germs in your sink, on your countertops, on your cutting boards.
  • When shopping at the grocery store, keep your distance.  Many grocery stores have tape on the floor so customers know how close they can get when checking out. 
  • Some stores want you to bring your own reusable bags, but if you do, many also want you to pack those groceries yourself as the clerk doesn’t want to touch your bag.
  • Use those store disinfecting wipes on the cart handle, or basket handle.  When you get back to your car, disinfect your hands and wash your hands when you get home.
  • Ordering take out?  Wipe down the containers – say the plastic containers the food comes in, before you open them.  Then transfer the food to your own dishes. 

TIME has a list of suggestions for grocery story shopping:  
  •  If you can afford to order online and have your groceries delivered or do curb-side pick-up.  Why?  Less exposure to other people.  This may be an especially good option for those who are at high risk, such as those with an underlying health condition.
  • When shopping in the store, social distancing is important.  The primary risk is getting the virus from other people so maintain the 6-foot social distancing rule is a good one.  Not always easy to do as some people seem to have never heard of the rule.  You may have to stand back and wait to pick that cucumber, but better to keep a safe distance.
  • Choose your store – some stores have been great at promoting social distancing, providing disinfecting wipes for the carts right by the store entrance, wiping down carts and touch surfaces during the day.  At our local CVS – one clerk wipes down everything between each customer. At our local Walmart the sales clerk was wiping the touch key pad and counter after every customer.  TIME quoted Dr. Jessica Justman, associate professor of medicine at Columbia University, who stated, “You want to pick a store that’s really paying attention and making it safer for customers to go in.”   Good advice.
  • And for your shopping list – skip the high-tech phone and use a simple piece of paper.  Less touching of your phone when you are in the store and you can through the paper list away when done shopping.  
Use paper for your grocery list, when done shopping, toss the list.
Stay safe and practice these tips when you are going grocery shopping.  Most are easy to follow.

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