Doctor shares useful tips for how to properly clean your groceries

Coronavirus Resources

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local doctor is sharing advice when it comes to safely getting food during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a physician with Family Medicine Specialists in Grand Rapids, posted an informational video to YouTube Tuesday to share tips on safe grocery shopping.

“When you’re out at the store, it’s not just about wiping down the shopping cart handle with an antiseptic wipe,” VanWingen said. “We need to be better than that when we go to the supermarket.”

His top tips include minimizing the time spent at the store by planning ahead and to only touch the items you’ll be taking home.

“Get what you need, get out, don’t loiter,” he told News 8. “Don’t read the labels, don’t pick something up — commit to buy.”

Once home, VanWingen recommends keeping your groceries outside your home, whether that be in the garage or car, for three days as he says coronavirus can live in the air for three hours and on plastic and metal surfaces for three days.

If you can’t wait, be ready to disinfect.

“Imagining that the groceries have some glitter on them, on the packaging and the bags,” VanWingen said when describing his surgical-like approach to disinfecting groceries. “Our goal is to not have any glitter at the end of this process in our house, on our hands, or more importantly on our face.” 

He said the food itself isn’t necessarily the culprit for carrying coronavirus.

“From what we know, food is not going to give us coronavirus,” he said. “It’s more the packaging we’re worried about.”

For example, consider a cereal box.

“It’s a box that has cardboard, so we know that coronavirus can likely live on this surface for 24 hours,” VanWingen said. “But on the inside, no human hands have touched this for more than a few days, so I can just dump that and get rid of the box.”

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