You may want to start quarantining shipments that come to your home or washing food packaging says a new study coming from the National Institutes of Health.
Concerning news is surfacing as the Food Packaging Forum compiles all the scientific data from Europe & the United States on the effects of Coronavirus on different surfaces. This means some caution is warranted when handling shipments & food packaging.
What are you supposed to do when you get a shipment or bring home groceries? You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best & worst hand sanitizers, best & worst probiotics, and best & worst Over the Counter (OTC) medication, now join us as we look at the effects of coronavirus on food packaging & shipments and give you the best up-to-date tips from health professionals.
Coronavirus Remains on Plastic for Up to Three Days
A recent study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that SARS-CoV-2 (formerly known as HCoV-19 originating in Wuhan, China), has the ability to live on certain surfaces for days. The stability of the SARS-CoV-2 was analyzed to determine their decay rate to give the public actionable information on what to do with food packaging and shipping in their homes. The following information was found during this study on SARS-CoV-2 by the National Institutes of Health:
- Virus more stable on plastic and stainless steel than cardboard and copper
- Virus detected up to 72 hours (3 days) on plastic & stainless steel, starts to decay after 6.8 hours for plastic and 5.6 hours for stainless steel
- Virus detected up to 24 hours (1 day) on cardboard, and couldn’t determine when it decays
- Virus NOT detected after 4 hours on copper
- Virus starts to decay in aerosols after 1.2 hours
While no research has been done specifically investigating the stability of the virus on the packaging under real-world conditions, they have enough information to merit some precautionary recommendations to the public about food packaging and shipping.
Tips from Food Packaging Forum on How to Deal With Coronavirus on Packaging & Shipments
The Food Packaging Forum exists to serve the world when it comes to the safety of packaging. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, they have helped to gather, summarize, and communicate relevant information to the public. Here are their recommendations for food packaging after considering recent studies on SARS-CoV-2 from the National Institutes of Health released March 13th, 2020.
Although there is currently no evidence for the transmission of infection via packaging, an abundance of precaution for this exposure route seems appropriate. In addition to the health recommendations being made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local health authorities, the Food Packaging Forum is recommending consumers to consider either:
(i) washing all packaging immediately when it enters the household with soap and water;
(ii) alternatively, transferring packaged goods from the packaging to cleaned containers for storage, and then discarding the packaging, or
(iii) quarantining the items for up to three days in the household before touching them again.
These recommendations apply to items bought in stores as well as those delivered to homes, such as mail order groceries, or meal delivery services, etc.
What Does This Mean About The Future of Plastic Food Packaging
The coronavirus is expected to create a systems shift in many parts of our lives. Things have changed, are going to keep changing, and will not likely not go back to what they were before this crisis started. But as this is happening, we can also be mindful of what kinds of changes we need to go forward.
Pete Myers, Founder and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences wrote: “New data reveal that the Coronavirus driving the pandemic that is gripping the world today survives twice as long on a plastic surface compared to a cardboard surface, and almost seven times longer than on a copper surface. Plastic is worse than stainless steel as well.”
Dianna Cohen from the Plastic Pollution Coalition says “It’s important to remember that using more single-use plastic disposables during this time increases your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are toxic to our own health and that of younger generations. Now is the time to advocate for a systems shift. It’s time to think local and grow your own food if you are able, support farmers markets, and buy food unpackaged whenever possible and prepare it at home. We’re all in this together, and we will get through it with each other’s help and care.”