The novel coronavirus is not thought to be transmissible via food, but it can stay on surfaces for several days, on fruits, vegetables including packaging material for foods.

It is thus necessary to take extra care and other precautionary measures while going grocery or vegetable shopping and storing them at home.

Food safety and handling is of utmost importance right now. There are a number of people resorting to practices such as washing the grocery and fresh product.

1. Before washing product, wash your hands

The importance of washing hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19 cannot be emphasised enough.

Even when you are going to rinse vegetables, you must ensure that your hands are clean.

Wash them for at least 20 seconds prior to cleaning fruit and vegetable product. It is a good idea to wash them afterwards too.

2. Rinse your product well in running water

All the fruits and vegetable product that is purchased from the market can be rinsed in running water, followed by rubbing with hands.

This is all that is needed to clean a majority of vegetables.

Rinse product BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetables

3. Do not use soap or any detergent

The FDA says it is a complete myth that soap, detergent or any special liquid is required to clean product.

Gently rub product while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a product wash.

If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, it is best to cut away the damaged areas before preparing or eating.

4. Use a brush or sponge if necessary

While cleaning root vegetables like potatoes or carrots, a vegetable brush or sponge should be used to ensure all dirt is removed.

5. Certain vegetables and fruits require extra care

Berries require extra attention during the cleaning process. Place them in a colander and rinse them under running water to remove pathogens. Similarly, lettuce and leafy greens should be placed in a bowl of cold water.

Further, make sure that pre-cut items, such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices, are either refrigerated, or kept on ice, both in the store and at home. The FSSAI also tweeted with some recommendations for food safety. 

6. Handling your grocery items :

1. Groceries must be washed copiously with water. Anything that you bring from outside has to be considered to be potentially infected.

2. Before washing groceries, do wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

4. Make sure that you discard the container of groceries in a closed dustbin. This should be done after washing your hands. After having discarded the container, wash your hands again.

5. Wash your hands before and after cooking vegetables

It is a good idea to cook your food thoroughly before consuming.

6.Keep the raw and cooked food separate, especially raw meat and fresh product.