Most countries in the world are in total lockdown because of the coronavirus. People are so concerned that whenever they see or touch something, the first question that pops in their mind is, Could it have coronavirus on its surface? They get extra worried when handling takeout food or while purchasing fruits and vegetables. They even wonder whether cooked food would kill coronavirus.
Did the food you just cooked kill coronavirus?
The COVID-19 virus isn’t found inside fruits and vegetables or food items. But if a coronavirus-infected person touches, coughs or sneezes on it, chances are the virus could land on its surface. If not handled carefully, you could end up putting yourself at risk. This is the time when you should be practicing good hygiene while buying, taking out, or cooking food.
It goes without saying that you should rinse the fruits and vegetables, and discard packaging carefully. The Food Packaging Forum recommends washing the packaging immediately with soap and water, or transferring packaged goods to clean containers for storage. So far, no coronavirus case has been reported due to consumption of food.
It’s not yet known heating at what temperature and for how long would kill the COVID-19. But we do know that it belongs to the coronavirus family, the same family as SARS. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heating food at 56 degrees Celsius kills SARS at 10,000 units per 15 minutes. Another study published in 2003 says heating at 75 degrees Celsius (around 165 degrees Fahrenheit) neutralizes SARS.
Other health experts also recommend cooking food at an internal temperature of 75 degrees Celsius to ensure that it’s safe. If you want to reheat the takeout or leftover food from the previous day, heat it to 75 degrees Celsius.
What about raw fruits and vegetables?
Practicing good hygiene is essential. When you bring home fruits and vegetables, rinse them with water to remove dirt, dust, and other particles. If an item has a tough skin, you can scrub it with a brush. It’s not necessary to wash fruits and vegetables with soap because soap is not for food. If you or the children in your family end up consuming soap, it could cause them diarrhea and vomiting.
After handling the packaging, don’t forget to wash your hands. This is the time when you should be avoiding not just coronavirus, but any disease because you don’t want to visit a hospital.