Heading to the store? Experts give tips for safe handling of your groceries

Grocery store runs are some of the only times Minnesotans are leaving home, so experts explained how to protect yourself and your food when you go. 

The risk of getting coronavirus from your groceries is extremely low, but Dr. Jeffery VanWingen has tips for keeping your food and your home clear of the coronavirus.

  1. Shoppers should disinfect the entire cart

VanWingen says it is important to disinfect the handle and the part of the cart where you keep your food. Some places, like Lunds & Byerly’s, are doing that service for customers already.

  1. Only touch things you know you’re taking home with you
  2. Once home, wash your hands and disinfect your countertops

A study by the National Institute of Health found that COVID-19 can live on cardboard up to 24 hours. Dr. VanWingen suggests throwing out any packaging you don’t need.

That same study found that COVID-19 can live on plastic for up to three days, so if you can’t ditch your packaging, he recommends disinfecting it.

  1. For fruits and vegetables, wash everything for 20 seconds a piece.

The USDA recommends not using soap to wash your produce.

Still, Dr. Susan Kline, an infectious disease expert with the University of Minnesota, says the way coronavirus lives on objects in a lab isn’t exactly reality.

“The lab isn’t exactly what happens in real life, but I do think there is potential that surfaces in real life could become contaminated,” she said.

Kline says you cannot get COVID-19 by just touching something.

“We don’t think that’s the predominate route of spread of COVID-19,” she said. “We think that it’s primarily spread through the respiratory route.”

Her number one recommendation, however, is to stay home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.