COVID-19 and FOOD SAFETY FAQ



Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food or packaging if the coronavirus was present on it?

  • Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.

  • In general, there is very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

  • Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus can survive on surfaces or objects, so it is always critical to follow safe food handling guidelines and wash your hands (and/or use hand sanitizer) after handling food packaging. How should produce be handled?

  • Consider using hand sanitizer before and after selecting produce items.

  • Avoid touching multiple produce items when making selections.

  • As per good food handling practices in general, wash hands before food preparation or eating, avoid touching your face, and consider supplementing handwashing with the use of hand sanitizer. What steps can someone take to minimize risk when shopping at the grocery store?

  • Ask if your local store has a pick-up or home delivery option.

  • Use hand sanitizer when entering stores, and wash hands and/or use sanitizer as soon as possible after leaving.

  • Try to maintain social distancing as much as possible while shopping.

  • Avoid touching surfaces or items unnecessarily and avoid touching your mouth, nose or face.

  • Do not go shopping when showing symptoms or if you think you have been exposed to the virus. continued on back The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are not aware of any reports at this time that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. Food businesses should be following employee health policies and instructing sick employees to stay home. UPDATED 3-23-2020 What is my grocery store doing to minimize my risk?

  • Many stores are following CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfection. Some are limiting hours to allow for additional cleaning and disinfection.

  • Food establishments have been instructed to ask sick employees to stay home.

  • Stores may also be providing sanitizer to customers and asking sick customers to leave.


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are not aware of any reports at this time that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. Food businesses should be following employee health policies and instructing sick employees to stay home.

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