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COVID-19 and Food Safety

Information on the COVID-19 pandemic changes almost daily. Here, from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are answers to your questions about food safety:

Q: Can I get the coronavirus from food, food packaging, or food containers and preparation areas?

A: Currently there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects.

If you are concerned about contamination of food or food packaging, wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from the packaging, before you prepare food for eating and before you eat. Consumers can follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.

It is always important to follow the four steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill.

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Q: Can I get COVID-19 from a food worker handling my food?

A: Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Anyone handling, preparing and serving food should always follow safe food handling procedures, such as washing hands and surfaces often.

Q: Where can I buy hand sanitizer? If I can’t find it in the store, can I make my own?

A:The FDA does not recommend that consumers make their own hand sanitizer. If made incorrectly, hand sanitizer can be ineffective, and there have been reports of skin burns from homemade hand sanitizer. The agency lacks verifiable information on the methods being used to prepare hand sanitizer at home and whether they are safe for use on human skin.

The FDA continues to find issues with certain hand sanitizer products. For example, test results show certain products have concerningly low levels of the active ingredient ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol  and may even have levels of the potentially lethal substance known as methanol (wood alcohol). Do not to use products on this list. Check with the site regularly as it is updated frequently.

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