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The #1 Way You're Spreading Germs at the Grocery Store

You might not realize it but there's one innocent-seeming habit
woman wearing a yellow coat scans the produce section of a grocery store

Your mask is securely fastened, your gloves are on, and you're prepared to stand at least six feet apart from everyone you encounter. It's time for another trip to the grocery store, but what you don't realize is that while you think you're taking every precaution, there's one thing you're doing when you're shopping that is actually spreading more germs than you may think, which is the opposite of what you want to be doing during this coronavirus pandemic.

And that's touching the produce.

Yes, even with gloves on, you're actually spreading a ton of germs.

How is touching produce the biggest way you're spreading germs in the grocery store?

Think about it—produce is one of those items that you often feel a few before you settle on the perfect avocado or that cucumber that seems like it'll taste the best. If you touch a few different fruits or vegetables before settle on the right one, those are germs you're spreading to all those other items you just didn't buy. Other customers come along and do the same thing, along with taking home an item you already touched, then the wave of germs just keeps spreading. Even if you're wearing gloves, that doesn't stop the spread of germs, and cross-contamination is a very real thing.

While you are shopping, there's a chance that you might whip out your cell phone to perhaps look at the list you carefully curated to keep you on track so you don't wander around the store as well. Sorry to break it to you, but studies have proven that your cell phone is a breeding ground for germs and the virus could be present on touchscreens. So if you happen to take out your phone and then touch all the produce—well, it's safe to say you get the picture by now!

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How can you avoid spreading germs while food shopping?

We understand—it's a bit unrealistic that you're sanitizing your hands after touching every single item while you're shopping. But you can easily practice the "shop with your eyes" logic when you're picking out fruits and vegetables. Instead of touching the food, simply take a good look at them (from a safe distance, while you're wearing a mask) and choose your foods that way. The same thing goes for every item you're shopping for, really. You don't have to touch three boxes of cereal to see which one you actually want to buy. If you do research before on which items you need, you can even lookup nutritional information online to again, avoid picking up an item to examine the nutrition breakdown.

It might not be the most ideal tactic, but shopping with your eyes could save lives. And to stay extra safe, be sure to keep an eye out for the germiest spots at the grocery store to avoid.

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.
Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more
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