PPS: If this is more Biology or LifeHacks then please feel to move it there. But this is a key VIRUS VECTOR that will come indoors and we are not all competent to "sanitize" the variety of items.

  • There is all this talk about distancing & disinfecting surfaces & avoiding facial hand contact
  • But, eventually at some point these things will happen:
    • We have to drink & eat, so food will come from out to in, with packing of various materials; and will be kept in living/ dining areas, kitchen, refrigerator & portables/ candy in other rooms too.
    • We will touch our facial area; mouth, nose, ears after we end up touching some "contaminated" surface (virus survival is several days)

How do we minimize incoming virus vectors for various types of incoming drink & food items; from produce to packaged and so on. (I cant list or imagine all kinds of food/ drink variety or category) so maybe we'll have to Wiki this so more stuff can be added in.


  • Steps to ensure vegetables & fruits from bunch of grocery bags (plastic, paper, fabric) do not carry COVID-19 virus into the Refrigerator?

1 Answer 1


The video https://youtu.be/sjDuwc9KBps from Jeffrey VanWingen, MD, summarizes methods for safe grocery shopping and cleaning during COVID-19. The main ideas are summarized in https://wgntv.com/news/coronavirus/doctor-shares-useful-tips-for-how-to-properly-clean-your-groceries/:

Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a physician with Family Medicine Specialists in Grand Rapids, posted an informational video to YouTube Tuesday to share tips on safe grocery shopping.

“When you’re out at the store, it’s not just about wiping down the shopping cart handle with an antiseptic wipe,” VanWingen said. “We need to be better than that when we go to the supermarket.”

His top tips include minimizing the time spent at the store by planning ahead and to only touch the items you’ll be taking home.

“Get what you need, get out, don’t loiter,” he told News 8. “Don’t read the labels, don’t pick something up — commit to buy.”

Once home, VanWingen recommends keeping your groceries outside your home, whether that be in the garage or car, for three days as he says coronavirus can live in the air for three hours and on plastic and metal surfaces for three days.

If you can’t wait, be ready to disinfect.

“Imagining that the groceries have some glitter on them, on the packaging and the bags,” VanWingen said when describing his surgical-like approach to disinfecting groceries. “Our goal is to not have any glitter at the end of this process in our house, on our hands, or more importantly on our face.”

He said the food itself isn’t necessarily the culprit for carrying coronavirus.

“From what we know, food is not going to give us coronavirus,” he said. “It’s more the packaging we’re worried about.”

For example, consider a cereal box.

“It’s a box that has cardboard, so we know that coronavirus can likely live on this surface for 24 hours,” VanWingen said. “But on the inside, no human hands have touched this for more than a few days, so I can just dump that and get rid of the box.”

  • 4
    There's no cases reported of infection transmitted this way. Fauci says be sensible. Mar 27, 2020 at 19:57
  • 1
    @GrahamChiu "this way" = via items purchased in a shop? Mar 29, 2020 at 10:12
  • It also seems like an open question as to how long it can actually live on cardboard, specifically. If you read the actual study the authors state "Individual replicate data were noticeably “noisier” (i.e., there was more variation in the experiment, resulting in a larger standard error) for cardboard than for other surfaces (Fig. S1 through S5), so we advise caution in interpreting this result."
    – Sam
    Mar 29, 2020 at 10:50

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