SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Supermarkets are now very popular places. There are long lines to deal with and social distancing to keep in mind. So how do you stay safe at the grocery store,  and should you be concerned about the food you buy?

Health expert, Karen Owoc, has some grocery shopping tips that’ll increase your chances of staying safe.

In the Store:

1. Avoid the crowds.

  • Shop in the early morning or late evening to minimize exposure to people.
  • Buy enough food to last 2 weeks to reduce the number of visits to the store.

2. Clean the shopping cart seat and handle. Sanitize hands. Carry wipes and gloves with you in case the stores are out of wipes.

  • DO NOT touch your mouth, nose, or eyes at any time in the store.

3. Buy packaged produce. This ensures that the fewest number of hands have touched your food. Frozen foods have the added advantage of being frozen when ripe, and they are at their peak nutritional value.

  • Packaged produce, e.g., bagged lettuce carrots, green beans, apples instead of loose
  • Frozen fruits/vegetables

4. Buy longer-lasting fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Fruits, e.g., bananas that you can freeze (for future smoothies), apples, oranges
  • Vegetables, e.g., broccoli Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes

At the Checkout:

  • If possible, opt for the “self-checkout”. Checking out your own groceries means two fewer people are handling your food (the checker and the bagger).
  • Self-checkout: Wipe down the checkout area, touchscreen, bagging area, and credit card machine.

At Home:

1. Create a “quarantined” area near the entrance for groceries.

2. Leave non-perishable items (cans, dry goods, etc) in the quarantined area for a day or two.

3. Wipe all cans, packages, and cardboard boxes with disinfectant wipes, before putting them in your pantry or refrigerator.

4. Wash all fruits and veggies before eating. Wash lettuce even if it’s been triple-washed.

The Takeaway:

Food in the grocery stores has been touched by many people. Minimize your exposure to people in the store; limit the number of people handling your food; and take steps to clean your food before it enters the home.

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