Food packaging is something all of us come into contact with on a daily basis, whether it be through the post or directly from a shop, but how can you make sure it is safe from germs such as COVID-19? By now people have become used to washing their hands regularly and abiding to a safe social distance, but something the public cant help is touching food packaging and bringing it home.
According to the World Health Organisation, the risk of catching COVID-19 from a package that has travelled, moved, and been exposed to different temperatures and conditions is very low. Although the risk of catching COVID-19 from food packaging and food deliveries is not at zero risk, it is relatively minor.
That said, although the risk of contamination is low, you might still feel nervous or anxious about the spread of COVID-19 on food packaging. It is good practice to use antibacterial wipes and disinfectant spray when the packaging comes into your home before you store the items away.
When it comes to fresh produce, such as vegetables and fruits, do not use any chemicals to clean them because it can be harmful if you digest the chemicals. To clean fresh produce, start by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. The next step is to use a vegetable scrub brush and running water to thoroughly clean the produce.
After handling any food or packaging that has entered the house, be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and disinfect any of the surfaces that the food packaging has come into contact with before you cleaned and stored them away.
Clean food packaging needs to be taken seriously by packing plants as they are the first ones to touch the packaging before it goes into supermarkets or into people’s homes. Packing plants should always be clean, regardless of whether COVID-19 is a risk or not, especially in food packing plants.
There should always be frequent hand washing in food packaging plants and increased surface cleaning to ensure that any risk of bacteria spread is removed. Workers should avoid touching their face and if they need to cough or sneeze, do it into a tissue and dispose of it accordingly, washing hands thoroughly afterwards. Offering a range of sanitisation stations encourage packers to wash their hands often.
If the packers are handling fresh produce, they should wear gloves and change them often. This is standard practice when directly handling food.