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Grocery packaging does not need disinfected: safety body

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General view of shoppers at the Wall Group Spar Shop in Ardoyne, north Belfast where staff and customers are practising stringent social distancing rules and hygiene practices in a bid to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Photo by Kelvin Boyes  / Press Eye.

General view of shoppers at the Wall Group Spar Shop in Ardoyne, north Belfast where staff and customers are practising stringent social distancing rules and hygiene practices in a bid to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

General view of shoppers at the Wall Group Spar Shop in Ardoyne, north Belfast where staff and customers are practising stringent social distancing rules and hygiene practices in a bid to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Food packaging does not need to be disinfected during the coronavirus pandemic, an all-Ireland food safety body has said.

Safefood said there is currently no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted by food or its packaging.

But it said people should follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods.

People are advised to wash their hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature and put food in the fridge as soon as they can.

Dr Linda Gordon, chief specialist in microbiology at Safefood, said: "A question we're being asked a lot is whether people should wash or disinfect food packaging when they bring it home from shopping. The simple answer is no - it's not necessary to sanitise the outside of food packaging as there is no current evidence that the virus can be transmitted in this way.

"The main risk of transmission is from close contact with infected people. Our advice is to maintain good hygiene habits and to wash your hands regularly and to follow current public health guidelines on social distancing."

Those who go food shopping should wash their hands before they leave the house, avoid touching their face when out and follow social distancing guidelines.

Dr Gordon said when shoppers come home, they should wash their hands straight away - and wash them again once they have unpacked and put away the shopping.

Belfast Telegraph