Purdue: fresh fruit and vegetables are still safe to consume
A clinical assistant professor at Purdue University says consumer questions about the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables have risen in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but there is no reason to be alarmed because the virus is not foodborne or food transmitted.
Amanda Deering says some people have expressed concern because the virus can be transmitted from surfaces and feeling and touching fresh produce is part of the buying experience.
“The issue is that (fruits and vegetables) are still areas people could touch so if they were infected or if they do touch the surface that has that and then don’t wash their hands and then touch their nose, eyes, mouth, or face then there could be that transmission,” she says.
She says it’s unclear how long the virus stays on surfaces, but there are steps to take to stay safe and still enjoy fresh produce.
“Typically we advise don’t wash it until you’re going to consume it to protect the shelf life or improve the shelf life of the product,” she says. “But in this case probably the best thing is as soon as you bring it home wash it and then get it into the refrigerator for storage.”
Deering says people should continue to wash hands frequently and wash produce.