There is a lot of concern and misinformation online right now about whether it’s safe to shop for and consume certain foods. Here at Recall Informer, we’re dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information about product safety recalls–including food-borne pathogens and potential contaminants.
We have the facts you need to shop smart (and safe) during the coronavirus pandemic.
Can Food Be Contaminated with COVID-19?
The good news is that the FDA has found no evidence that food or food packaging could transmit COVID-19. This respiratory illness is typically passed from person to person when someone sneezes or coughs.
The organization recommends using the Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill method to prevent potential food-borne illness:
- Clean all tools, kitchen surfaces, and especially your hands
- Separate raw meat and prepare it on a dedicated cutting board
- Cook foods to the safe temperature (for example, 165 degrees for chicken)
- Chill food promptly instead of letting it sit at room temperature
If a Worker Gets Sick, Will Food They Handled Be Recalled?
Another common question is what happens if an employee at a food packing plant or grocery store gets sick. Will that food be recalled? Will the entire business need to be quarantined?
The FDA recommends that businesses “re-double their cleaning and sanitation efforts” in the event that an employee gets sick. However, they do not believe that foods or other products that a sick employee might have handled need to be recalled.
How Much Food Should I Buy? Will There Be Shortages?
Currently, there are no food shortages in the United States. Although many grocery stores have opted to reduce opening hours, they have done so in order to give employees more time to sanitize and restock the stores.
Some high-demand products, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, may be out of stock for a while. However, The FDA assures that “[f]ood production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the United States and no widespread disruptions have been reported in the supply chain.
Don’t buy more food than your household can reasonably eat before it goes bad. Certain foods, like milk and eggs, don’t freeze well and have a limited shelf life.
What Is WIC, and Why Does It Matter?
Finally, let’s talk about the letters “WIC” that you’ll sometimes find on price stickers at the grocery store. If you see the WIC label, try to leave that product on the shelf.
Why? Because WIC represents products covered by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. This government-subsidized program is designed to ensure that low-income parents can feed their kids nutritious foods.
The products marked “WIC” are the only ones that people using this program can purchase. If those food products are gone from the shelves, these families can’t just choose another brand.