CDC: You do not need to sanitize groceries, produce

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The US Centers for Disease Control says there have been reports of people sanitizing groceries and washing produce with dish detergent.

The CDC says that there is zero evidence to suggest that COVID-19 spreads through food packaging.

Rutgers University Microbiologist Donald W Schaffner says that he has firmly pushed back against Facebook “experts” and viral posts that suggest sanitizing groceries is a good idea. Additionally, he says that the same people pushing to sanitize groceries are the same people who think wearing gloves in public is a good idea.

Harvard Medical School infectious disease epidemiologist Julia Marcus agrees on both aspects. She says that the chemicals used to kill COVID-19 are not meant to sanitize groceries and could, in fact, contaminate food products. She also says that wearing gloves outside of a medical setting spreads contamination like “wildfire.”


“The best thing a person can do is what we have been saying all along…sanitize or wash your hands,” Marcus said.

The CDC says that people should absolutely not wash their produce with soap and water. Produce should only be rinsed with water.

Schaffner says that after a person handles groceries they can simply wash their hands with soap and water.

“Use sanitizing wipes and other products for what they were intended for…hard surfaces, not food products,” Schaffner said.