Cleaning Groceries and Packages during the Coronavirus Pandemic – Is it Really Necessary?


Watch almost any interview with a physician right now, and the topic will come up:

Whether we need to clean the groceries, takeout, and packages that come into our homes. So, what are the doctors and experts telling us?

Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, in his video PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic, ¹ gives the following advice:

  • If you do go to the grocery store, commit to buying items before picking them up.
  • Don’t go to the store if sick.
  • Don’t allow anyone over 60 to go to the grocery store.
  • Minimize your time in the store.
  • Divide a counter space into two sections. On one side, place the un-cleaned groceries. The other side is the clean side, place the sanitized items on this side of the counter.
  • Soak/clean produce in clean, running water.

On the other hand, however, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), stated in his interview with Trevor Noah concerning packages and wiping down groceries:

“Those types of surfaces, the virus might live there for a very short time. I wouldn’t worry about that. It’s more [about] the close things, the handwashing.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives the following advice , “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. … CDC notes that in general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. It is more likely that a person will be exposed by person-to-person transmission involving close contact with someone who is ill or shedding the virus.” ²

Also, the FDA continues, “If you are concerned about contamination of food and food packaging you have purchased from the grocery store, wash your hands after handling food and food packages when you return from the grocery store and after removing packaging from food.”

So, is cleaning groceries and packages necessary during the coronavirus pandemic? Weigh carefully for yourself the advice the experts are giving us, and decide what the best course is for you and your family.


1. 2020, VanWingen, Dr. Jeffrey, PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic, YouTube, accessed 1 April 2020,

2. 2020, Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), U.S. Food & Drug Administration, accessed 1 April 2020,


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