Public Health Professional

Stay safe: Smart ways to disinfect food and other essentials

Stay safe: Smart ways to disinfect food and other essentials

The world is experiencing a health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The majority of states in the U.S., along with other countries, have stay-at-home directives to “flatten the curve” or to slow down the number of cases.  Captain Martin Lloyd Sanders, Ph.D., CSP, an expert in biosecurity, infectious disease epidemiology, and public health, aims to help others stay safe and healthy during these times.


These days, going out in public to buy essential items such as groceries can put a person at risk of being infected with COVID-19.  Experts have discovered that the virus can live up to 72 hours on some surfaces.  This is why Capt. Martin Lloyd Sanders urges the public to disinfect their surroundings regularly.  For those who are bringing in food and other essentials from outside, here are safe practices to disinfect food and other essentials.


Clean food packaging


Food packages might have been handled by different people before they are delivered or bought.  This is why it’s useful to wipe these packages using a paper towel with disinfectant spray.  Food items with disposable packaging such as paper or cardboard can be transferred to a reusable container as these porous materials can also be contaminated.  Experts say that if the food is wrapped in multiple layers, it might be good to dispose of the first layer of the packaging.


Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly


Captain Martin Lloyd Sanders would like to inform the public that spraying disinfectants or washing perishable food items with soap can pose threats to a person’s health.  The safe way to clean produce is to separate them to prevent further contamination.  Scrubbing these items with a clean brush for 20 seconds and rinsing them with water thoroughly afterward is good enough.  Some people even go the extra mile and soak crops like potatoes and carrots in water with salt to remove the dirt.


Wipe the surfaces of non-perishable goods


Shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, cleaning supplies, and other home necessities must be disinfected before opening.  Capt. Martin Lloyd Sanders suggests using disinfectant wipes or making one with a paper towel sprayed with a disinfectant solution to clean the goods.  Paper or cardboard packaging can be disposed of while reusable bags should be properly laundered.  Experts have noted that the coronavirus can last for about 24 hours on surfaces like plastic and more than a day for metals.


One of the best ways to stay safe during this pandemic is to practice good hygiene.  Washing hands for 20 seconds and cleaning the home frequently will prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  One must remember that proper sanitation is the first line of defense against diseases such as COVID-19.

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