Don’t fear your fruits and vegetables amid coronavirus concerns


Researchers at the Purdue University Department of Food Science want to remind the public that the coronavirus is not believed to be foodborne or food-transmitted, so fresh fruits and vegetables can still be consumed.

“From all indications, the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be transmitted just like other viruses,” Extension specialist Amanda Deering said. “This is very positive in that the same practices that we normally use to reduce contamination risk, such as washing your hands and washing fruit and vegetables before eating, should be applicable to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Although the risk of COVID-19 from fresh fruit and vegetables is small, the following tups are still recommended:

• Frequent hand-washing effectively reduces risk. After a trip to the supermarket, make sure to wash your hands, especially if tongs or other shared utensils are used.

• Try not to manipulate produce items. While part of the buying experience is feeling, touching and manipulating the produce, this may increase the probability of a pathogen being deposited on or acquired from the produce.

• Consumers who are immunocompromised should consider purchasing pre-packaged fruits and vegetables as an added measure of caution or choose to eat cooked fruits and vegetables at this time.

• All produce items should be washed thoroughly before consumption.

For all updates on the Coronavirus and how it impacts Rural America, visit our Coronavirus outbreak hub.