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. You can find Coronavirus on packaging & shipments. 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 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.”
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This is a useful video prepared by a physician that demonstrates how we can apply the method that doctors use to handle contaminated items to handling groceries and other things that we bring into our homes. He reported that other coronaviruses can live in freezing temperatures for up to 2 years.
I’ve been doing something like this, but with a thyme-based disinfectant. I hope that type of disinfectant works for C19, as it is all I have and I can’t find an alternative.
-Grab delivered packages.
-Go to the bathroom and place all packages gently into the bathtub.
-Remove your clothes
-Get in shower with your packages and wash, scrub everything clean.
-Be careful soggy cardboard must stay out of drain.
-Feel fresh with you wet packages. -Remove laptop from delivery package and confirm it has been destroyed.
-Good news you are virus free!
Best comment 🤣
My brother is finding mail from years ago that he never opened.
To think that he’s a trendsetter!
Let’s hope single use plastic goes bye bye!
I’m with you there!
OMG I’m totally freaking out now. I have not done any of these things when I get home from the grocery store except wipe the steering wheel and all surfaces I touched in the car with a clorox wipe, unpack the food and put in fridge/freezer, throw away the plastic bags then Lysol all the counters, fridge door handles. I hadn’t thought about my shoes and clothes. they just go back into my closet. ugh. I’m going to be following many of these recommendations moving forward. i get stuff from Amazon every couple of days and have been concerned but didn’t know what to do. guess I’ll just leave the stuff in the garage for three days before opening. This is all so overwhelming. I live with my elderly parents and my Dad is going through chemo so I have to keep this place as safe as possible and eviently I’ve totally failed. +uck.
We just put packages in the garage for a day and wipe down groceries. It’s pretty simple, but yes overwhelming and not something I would automatically do.
Elene Gusch, DOM
Don’t freak out. The fact that viruses were detectable on surfaces for quite a while does not mean that they were viable and could cause infection. You may want to wear gloves when handling the packages, to be extra cautious, but it’s very unlikely your household will be at risk.
You did not fail.
Our health system failed you by not communicating better with China to learn this earlier.
You did the best you could.
Our government did not.
Who knows… Maybe love kills viruses and in that case your folks will survive beautifully. Good luck.
You have not failed. You have gone through a learning exercise and hopefully survived what you have done so far in a lower C19 viral load environment. Use that knowledge and use it as you go forward adding to your knowledge. We are learning about this every day. You are taking action. Others couldn’t give fig and either they or those close to them will either be immune or make themselves more likely to get it.
This is not longer current. Dr Fauci said this was done in his lab under perfect conditions – it is not happening outside of the lab. Not to worry about mail and packages! Wash your produce when you get home…
That’s not exactly what he said. He left the possibility open but said they weren’t concerned about it.
This is very useful. I have a process for groceries, packages/mail. Given this article, I think I’m on a reasonable (possibly excessive track). I hope to find out If BLEACH wipes are as effective as soap/water if very moist and items are left wet and allowed to dry.
Process: I set up a plastic folding table In our garage to disinfect things before entering the house. I have no scientific data to Validate this process but – I wear reusable rubber gloves and then 1 shopping bag at a time is unloaded. Each item removed, wiped down with a very damp Clorox bleach wipe. I go through 1 full shopping bag then let all items dry completely. I wash the gloves after every bag. I then place all wiped but dry items in a pre cleansed reusable plastic shopping bag and my wife takes it in. Unloads. We repeat until done then, gloves get washed, hands get washed, all the clothes I wore go into the washing machine (run with hot/warm water cycle ) then a hot shower. Then back out to cleaning station which gets wiped down with bleach wipe while wearing disposable gloves, then a quick Lysol spray on the table and ground, gloves get thrown away, hands washed. Exhausted but feeling protected…
For packages / mail – handle with gloves, spray with Lysol let sit until dry – cut open box, items removed wiped down with very moist bleach wipe, then air dried. Similar with mail- gloves on when opening, separate out what we must keep vs recycle. I have 2 piles and I let each pile sit for 4-5 days. I pay bills at Day 4-5 and then recycle.
This is a bit excessive but trying to protect my family and it gives me a process to follow until we get definitive answers.
I also leave all shoes in garage and if I walk around, I spray the bottom of our shoes with Lysol or a Clorox spray.
Also every night I wipe down – phones, high touch surfaces – door handles. Fridge handles, chair backs, etc.
My wife (as you can imagine thinks this is excessive). Funny thing is that I didn’t have any OCD behaviors before this virus… now I’m trying to to be extra cautious.
You aren’t alone. I’m pretty much doing the exact same things, except I didn’t think about clothes. Spray all packages with lysol, wearing gloves, quarantining mail inside, and wiping down each individual item as it enters my house, then washing my hands. I am immuno-comrpomised and would never survive an infection, so I am ultra ultra careful. You just have to be. I don’t think what you are doing is excessive at all, and in any case, we can be excessive together.
My absentee ballot arrived in an envelope. I opened a day later and filled it out. There was a bright yellow note inside that said, this ballot was packaged with sanitized hands. Please do not lick the label when you send it back. Use a damp paper towel to seal it. WI.
That’s good they are telling people that for the stamps.
UV/sunlight is an excellent disinfectant. It takes 30-60 minutes but all surfaces must be exposed. Obviously this wouldn’t work for frozen food.
What about regular mail? How long does the virus stay on paper? And what are mail carriers doing to prevent cross contamination if my neighbor is sick?
I would assume it’s similar to cardboard because it’s porous paper.
Thanks for posting this article. This research just came out today and we already have some great suggestions.
I think the question above warrants an answer whether the virus survives longer in the refrigerator or the freezer.
Officially my answer is 🤷♀️Until they tell us
May I suggest that if you wait until ‘they’ tell us you will be behind the curve and too, too late. DON’T wait find out for yourself from reliable sources and act accordingly. Check out website masks4all.co
Just taking a minute to thank you, Leah, for all your hard work!
Would love to know about refrigerated food, as well. I was also told after going to the market I should take off all clothing, machine wash, and shower! They say it can survive in hair etc. for some time.
Be responsible and be well everyone!
What about if you buy something that needs refrigeration or freezer. Does cold storage shorten or lengthen the time the virus can survive on food packaging?
I’m sure that will be answered in the next few days. But you can always wipe food packages down with a wash cloth and alcohol before putting in freezer.
Yes! For about 2 weeks now, I have been letting packages/mail sit and/or spraying and wiping with alcohol. Thanks for this info!
Me too…actually have a spray i made with 1 part Alcohol/ 1 part distilled water & Lemongrass EO and Tea Tree EO. Everything coming into house is sprayed with this. I am high risk because of COPD
I knew this was happening! I told my husband and he laughed at me.