Safety tips and best practices when heading to the grocery store

UH Assistant Professor, Sujata Sirsat, has some precautions and safety tips for while you're at the grocery store and once you get home.

HOUSTON – Trips to the grocery store have always been a family event for many people, but with the Stay Home Work Safe order, we should really only be heading out for essential items.

Sujata Sirsat, assistant professor in the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, says the spread of COVID-19 has changed the way she “goes” grocery shopping. She relies mostly on online delivery.

“If we run out of something essential for my kids, then only one of us will go to the store when it is not crowded. We want to reduce the number of people in that store and practice social distancing effectively,” said Sujata.

The next time you head to the grocery store or pick up food from a restaurant, Sirsat offers these tips to stay safe:

  • Wash store-bought produce thoroughly with cool water then dry the produce with a disposable paper towel. That enhances the removal of any pathogens that could be on the surface. Recommendations circulating on social media to wash produce with soap are inaccurate, and Sirsat notes that this could be harmful since soap is toxic when consumed.
  • There is some evidence the novel coronavirus can survive on a variety of surfaces including cardboard and stainless steel, even though the risk of transfer to hands and mouth is very low. Sirsat recommends transferring the contents of canned and boxed goods to a container in your home and discarding the original containers.
  • Get rid of plastic and paper bags from stores and restaurants, or recycle them. Clean and disinfect the surface that may have been in contact with bags, such as countertops. Both the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency have extensive lists and recommendations for approved disinfectants.
  • After every step, always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Watch above as Sujata gives her tips and best practices for going to the grocery store, and once you get home.

About the Author:

Native Houstonian, Favorite Aunt, Lucky Girlfriend, Diet Coke Connoisseur.