Sanitizing Groceries – Oubre Medical

Sanitizing Groceries

Right now, there’s a bit more fear with simple, daily tasks such as buying groceries. The fear of contamination of Covid-19 through the food we eat has been permeating our thoughts pretty consistently. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said there’s no certainty Covid-19 can be transmitted from food, it’s always better to be safe, even if it’s for our own peace of mind.

  • The goal is to remove the products from their containers without contaminating any of the food itself. Make sure you have hand sanitizer during this process, disinfecting your own hands between cleaning and sanitizing each product.
  • My personal advice: try to buy produce that you can cook right now; leafy greens, cabbage, broccolini, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. Limit the amount of raw produce, but ensure proper cleaning techniques when eating them. Raw and cooked produce each have their own nutritional value and special qualities, so having a mixture is beautiful for a robust immune system. If you are at high-risk, it may be beneficial to only consume cooked produce.
  • Shopping in the grocery store:
    • Wipe down your cart
    • Commit to what you buy before picking them up. 
    • Don’t shop if you have any respiratory symptoms, are over the age of 60, or have been exposed to the virus.
    • Plan for 2 weeks to minimize your time in the supermarket.
    • Wear a mask!
  • Inside the home:
    • Sanitize the area you’ll be unloading your groceries on, whether it’s a kitchen counter, table, or floor area. Fully saturate a paper towel with disinfectant, as well. 
    • Separate the area into two halves: a “clean” side and a “dirty” side.
    • Groceries from the outside of the house will stay on the dirty side.
    • Plastics:
      • Wipe down all plastics with the saturated cloth that has disinfectant.
      • Place on clean side.
  • Cardboard:
    • The virus can stay active on the cardboard for over 24 hours presumably. All cardboard items include common groceries such as cereals, crackers, packaged goods – you name it.
    • Open the cardboard, and immediately put the internal goods onto the clean side. 
    • Get rid of the external packaging and cardboard immediately.
  • Produce:
    • Try to buy produce you can cook down and avoid eating raw, such as vegetables, leafy greens, starches, etc. 
    • Produce with rinds are safer to eat raw, but again, just do the best you can. We need an abundance of both cooked and raw produce to help boost our immune system during this time!
    • Sanitize the produce bag the produce is in (saturated cloth or spray directly); or
    • Have another family member open the crisper drawer in your fridge, while you drop the produce into the drawer directly, leaving the bag behind;
    • Fruit and porous produce are a bit different. Soak and wash the produce skin for 20 seconds minimum. Wash eat fruit individually for at least 20 seconds. Firm fruits with rinds can utilize non-toxic, organic produce rinse, or make your own:
      • Fill up a medium sized container with warm water.
      • Spray a few sprays of natural non-toxic food-based cleaner such as Branch Basics or Rebel Green (or other produce washes) + ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) + 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbial).
      • Use baking soda if you don’t have ACV.
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda per 2 cups water.
      • Let sit for 15 minutes and spin occasionally before rinsing.
      • Pat down with clean cloth before storing in the fridge.
    • Do not use soap and water to wash your produce.
      • The brand Branch Basics is an example of a clean, non-toxic cleaner that has food based products such as: Purified Water, Coco Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Decyl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Citrate (Food-Grade Emulsifier), Lauryl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Bicarbonate (Food-Grade Baking Soda), Sodium Phytate (Plant-Based Antioxidant).
      • Do not use any type of disinfectant such as Clorox, Method, Mrs. Myers, etc. You should only be using food-safe cleaners made specifically to wash produce.
  • Bread/baked goods:
    • Move items like bread to clean storage containers that are prepped and ready to go, on the clean side.
    • Get rid of external packaging immediately.
  • Packaged goods with a firm exterior/thick packaging:
    • Spray the disinfectant directly onto the items.
    • Wipe of areas that human hands have touched like handles more rigorously.
    • Transfer items to the clean side.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling all groceries from the store.
  • Relax and enjoy your food. Remember, we are all doing the best we can. The more produce and fresh food we can enjoy, the healthier our bodies will be, and the more support our immune system will have. Don’t panic if you think you’re not doing a “good enough” job with cleaning – any effort is still a positive and successful movement towards keeping you healthy.

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