There is no need to wash or disinfect food packaging brought into the home, according to an expert.
All-Ireland consumer advice body 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.
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 wayDr Linda Gordon, Safefood
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.”
Simple steps to stop #coronavirus:— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) April 22, 2020
âï¸Wash your hands properly & often.
âï¸ Cover your mouth & nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
âï¸ Put used tissues into a bin.
âï¸ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
âï¸ #stayhome pic.twitter.com/oz80Ld3XXe
People with Covid-19 symptoms are advised not to go shopping and to order groceries online, or have family or friends drop them off instead.
Those who do 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.