Don Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University, posted a Twitter thread about buying and handling food during the pandemic. He noted that more and more information from incompetent sources is now appearing on the Web, and motley advice can not only raise panic, but also harm. In his opinion, the most dangerous thing is recommendations from doctors who have nothing to do with microbiology and food.

I am a food microbiologist. Would you like to hear from me advice on how to treat children? Hardly. And that is why you should not listen to advice about food hygiene or microbiology from doctors who do not understand this area at all.

First of all, he told whether purchases should be disinfected: “Is it worth disinfecting food packaging? I don’t think it has any scientific basis. It is better to wash your hands if you have taken something from a potentially contaminated package – and this rule does not only work during a pandemic. Hands should always be washed and/or sanitized before eating.”

Then he explained how to wash fruits and vegetables – and there is absolutely nothing complicated here.

  1. Wash fruits and vegetables with cold water, do not use soap for this.
  2. There is no evidence that specialized fruit and vegetable cleaners have any effect on SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Most of them are no more effective than ordinary water. However, if this makes you feel calmer and you don’t mind spending a few hundred rubles, such funds can be used.
  3. Likewise, there is no evidence that washing with vinegar is better for coronavirus than rinsing with water. Leave the vinegar for cooking.

Schaffner also told how to buy to minimize the risk.

  1. Sanitize your hands before entering the supermarket and after leaving it. Large stores now hang antiseptic dispensers at the entrance – feel free to use them.
  2. Try to spend as little time as possible in the store and avoid contact with other people. Make a shopping list and go to a familiar store that you know well so you don’t waste time looking for the right department.
  3. You can use reusable bags, shoppers or string bags, but do not forget to wash them regularly. However, this rule also works outside the pandemic. When you have taken out the products, it is better to store such packages in the trunk of the car.
  4. After you have sorted out your purchases, wash your hands again.