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Doctors say it's not a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables with soap and water — and here's how to deal with groceries during COVID-19


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Photo by MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP via Getty Images

Benjamin Chapman, a professor at North Carolina State University and a food specialist, says that washing fruits and vegetables with soap and water is not necessarily a good idea.

Other experts also weighed in with their own tips for food safety and staying healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What's the deal with fresh foods?

Chapman told Live Science that there are "toxicity issues" with household dish soaps.

"We've known for 60 years that there are toxicity issues about consuming household dish soaps," he said. "Drinking dish soap or eating it can lead to nausea, can lead to upset stomach. It's not a compound that our stomach is really built to deal with."

Chapman said that a good rinse with cold water will suffice.

How about grocery shopping?

In a now-viral video, Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a private practice doctor out of Michigan, warned about the dangers of grocery shopping.

"I felt an urgency to get the word out to people that despite the stay-at-home order, we need to use caution when we go out," he said. "That's really the most important piece of the message: If you don't have to go out, don't. But if you must, to get food, do so with caution."

VanWingen says that people who have no choice but to leave the house and grocery shop should take the highest precautions when keeping germ-free.

PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic UPDATED!!! www.DrJeffVW.comwww.youtube.com

Some recommendations include wiping down grocery carts with disinfectant or disinfectant wipes. He also recommends that people store newly purchased dry goods on a porch or in a garage for at least three days, and says that containers should be disinfected or discarded.

Chapman added, however, that there's no evidence that food or its packaging can transmit the virus, and says that VanWingen's suggestion isn't "based on any science."

Chapman said that people should simply put away their groceries and wash their hands well with soap and water.

"[R]inse fresh fruits and vegetables with running cold water," Chapman says. "That may remove 90 to 99% of what's there."

What else?

Donald Schaffner, a professor at Rutgers University, echoed Chapman's sentiments about washing hands after returning from the grocery store.

"[I]f you're still feeling worried after you put all your groceries away, wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer," he said.

Schaffner also said that if COVID-19 is on the food, "it's not going to make you sick from eating that food" because coronavirus reportedly dies in stomach acid.


Schnaffner says that people should be more worried about spending time in the grocery store rather than disinfecting their foods — and to wash your hands.

"That's the big risk right there," he said.

(H/T: Fox News)

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