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Coronavirus Grocery Shopping Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Stop mistaking these three common misconceptions for facts.
girl in a protective medical mask looks at the camera and stands in line at the cash register in a supermarket

There is a lot of misinformation out there right now when it comes to the novel coronavirus and precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, and it's time we all get the facts straight.

Below you'll see three common grocery shopping myths about ways you could be contracting the virus at the grocery store as well as methods you should be making use of to avoid transmitting it. We debunked all three and provided you with the latest information available from health experts.

It's time to stop believing that…

1

You'll get coronavirus just by touching something.

22-year-old man with protective mask makes purchase in supermarket
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This simply isn't true. Dr. William Lang, Medical Director at WorldClinic, recently told Eat This, Not That! that your hands are the biggest things to carry and transmit the virus, but that's only if you then touch your face. For example, if you touch an item from the grocery store that someone just sneezed or coughed on and then you pick it up, you would have to then touch your face to transmit it. But, if you immediately used hand sanitizer (and correctly) after touching that contaminated item, you're in the clear.

2

Gloves won't protect you, so you shouldn't bother wearing them.

food packaging coronavirus grocery shopping wearing mask
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This is partially true. Gloves won't protect you from contracting the virus if you, again, proceed to touch your face with them still on. To say latex gloves won't provide any protection isn't accurate, though, as they still cover your hands and block any of the viral particles from getting directly on them. Still, there are ways you could be wearing protective gloves incorrectly, such as trying to reuse them or continuing to handle your phone with them still on. Remember, if your gloves have touched something that's been contaminated with viral particles, your gloves will then carry that contamination.

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In short, wearing latex gloves is a great precaution to take before going grocery shopping, but only if you do so correctly. When you have your gloves on, only touch the shopping cart handle and groceries. Next, remove them by carefully pulling them off by turning them inside out. Then, dispose of them immediately and continue to pay for your groceries without them on. And don't forget to put on hand sanitizer immediately after you pay!

3

It's absolutely necessary to disinfect your groceries.

sanitizing groceries
Shutterstock

No, it's actually not. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, explained to NPR that the likelihood of you contracting COVID-19 from a contaminated surface (or in this case, grocery item) is quite low. Again, it all has to do with the timing. Another consumer's infectious respiratory droplets would have to have landed on the same exact spot that you touched—and enough of it—to then go and touch your mouth, nose, or eyes and activate the infection.

Another key element to take into consideration here is that the virus becomes virtually noninfectious after 72 hours. Instead of wiping packaged foods down with a disinfectant wipe, read up on the 5 Best Ways to Sanitize Your Groceries. Hint, none of them include wiping down your groceries!

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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