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Food Cleaning produce in the age of coronavirus: Take these food safety steps, rinse and repeat

13:25  27 march  2020
13:25  27 march  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is aimed at limiting the survival of the virus in the environments. These recommendations will be updated if additional information becomes available.

The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.

Some questions may be running through your mind as the coronavirus pandemic wears on. 

Washing vegetables in a kitchen © Getty Images Washing vegetables in a kitchen

Is that apple at the supermarket contaminated? Did someone with COVID-19 sneeze on the peaches?

While there's no evidence or documented cases of COVID-19 that suggest the virus can be transmitted through food, experts told USA TODAY that there still is a chance to get sick if you pick up an item someone infected has sneezed or coughed on.

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Radiologists at Mount Sinai Hospital have begun to examine CT scans of coronavirus patients from China.Credit James Estrin/The New York Times.

Coronavirus is fragile and easily destroyed by hand soap, disinfectant wipes, and cleaning sprays Previous coronavirus epidemics likewise showed no evidence of having been spread through food None that have been recognized. Food handlers are specifically trained in proper safety and hygiene

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And while most people make good decisions, all it takes is one bad one to increase the risk. In Pennsylvania, a woman went through a grocery store coughing on food in what the store's co-owner called a "twisted prank."

Felicia Goulet-Miller, an instructor of microbiology at Florida Gulf Coast University, said food items, including fresh produce, can spread the disease.

"If the produce is contaminated by a sick person and you touch it and then touch your face, you can become infected," Goulet-Miller said, noting it's another reason not to touch your faces in public and to wash hands after touching things touched by others.

Don Schaffner, a food science professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said information and guidance is constantly changing but that the virus doesn't like being outside the body. After a couple of days, the virus would be undetectable on a hypothetical apple that someone with COVID sneezed on, he said.

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In light of the coronavirus outbreak, everyone is taking extra precautions to sanitize and disinfect the "You do not need to soak your produce in a sanitizing solution," says Aubree Gordon, an According to the European Food Safety Authority, there are no known instances of produce or food

Could this mean people taking these drugs are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection and are How long can the coronavirus stay airborne? I have read different estimates. A study done by However, you can take steps to lower your risk of getting infected in the first place. These include.

"What we believe is true is that you won't get coronavirus from that apple, but we don't know that definitively," Schaffner said.

Soaps, detergent won't kill COVID-19 

Don't bleach the veggies or use chlorine on the fruit. No disinfecting wipes or isopropyl alcohol, either. 

"These are not safe for human consumption and could make you sick," Goulet-Miller said. 

And if you digest enough soap, it could be toxic, Schaffner warns. 

"Those soaps and detergents are designed for washing hands or for washing dishes and they're not designed for washing food," he said. "If you don't get it all off it might cause an upset stomach.”

As for chlorine, using it incorrectly also comes with dangers. "Using chlorine in a way that could be harmful is worse than the risk of regular foodborne pathogens," said Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.

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Taking the necessary steps to prevent SARS-CoV-2 and the symptoms of COVID-19 are imperative to stopping the spread. Like other coronaviruses , it can survive in the air and on surfaces long enough to infect someone. Use a tissue or sneeze into your elbow to keep your hands as clean as possible.

How to protect yourself

The main recommendation experts shared with USA TODAY along with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to rinse produce under running water before eating it. 

In a statement to USA TODAY, the CDC also stressed the importance of thoroughly washing hands with soap and water "for at least 20 seconds" before preparing or eating food.

"The recommendation still continues to make sure to soak (produce) in water or put it under running water to wash out any potential contamination," Diez-Gonzalez said, adding that cooking vegetables would also "take care of the virus."

Washing produce removes about 90% of any contamination but not everyone is taking the time to rinse before taking a bite. "I assume that many people before this outbreak were not washing their produce," Diez-Gonzalez said, who estimates that before the pandemic, less than 20% were washing their hands before eating.

Goulet-Miller also recommends washing fruit like bananas. 

"Even if the fruit has a peel, you should wash it first because touching it could contaminate your hands and you could then infect yourself as you eat that delicious banana." 

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Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals with some of them also known to infect Notify public health authorities in your area who will provide guidance on further steps to take . Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and supply of substances of human origin in the EU/EEA.

These particles can land on other people, clothing and surfaces around them, but some of the smaller particles can remain in the air. And researchers are now beginning to understand more about how this affects the spread of the new coronavirus . (Read more about the global fight against Covid-19.)

No food sharing

But cleaning your produce isn't the only thing to keep in mind. Felicia Wu, professor of food science and human nutrition at Michigan State University, said sharing any type of food or drink should be off-limits.

"It is crucial, even within families, to make sure not to share food that someone else directly bit into or drank," Wu said, noting saliva of someone infected may contain the virus.

“That is why someone infected with this virus and coughing, sneezing or spitting close to you would increase your risk of becoming infected,” Wu said. “For that same reason, although it sounds a bit disgusting to discuss, people transmit their saliva onto the food they eat and the beverages they drink.”

Schaffner also suggests that if someone sick is in your home they "should be eating by themselves."

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko


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