Over the fear of contracting the novel Coronavirus, people all over the globe are taking precautionary measures from maintaining personal hygiene to putting extra efforts in cleaning their houses. Not just that, after studies claimed that the virus can stay alive on items and surfaces for hours to days, people have started sanitising everything bought from outside.
Meanwhile, many fake and misleading information on COVID-19 is also doing the rounds on social media making it difficult for people to identify what's true and what's not.
Should we avoid salads?
A viral message that has surfaced online claims that a Hong Kong medical lab has warned its staff to avoid eating salads as the Coronavirus can stay active on fruits and vegetables for 12 hours. As per the message, they have recommended not to eat fruits and vegetables within 48 hours of purchase and to pour boiling water over them before consuming.
It has to be noted that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have earlier said there is no evidence to prove that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.
However, the Centre for Food Safety in Hong Kong has requested the public to cook food thoroughly and to avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products. Therefore, the above-mentioned claim can be considered false.
Recent fake claims
Recently, rumours regarding the intake of cabbage and bakery products had also gone viral on social media. Many netizens were seen sharing "the warning message by the World Health Organization (WHO)" against eating these products amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The viral message claimed that the WHO has advised the public to avoid cabbage as COVID-19 can stay in it for over 30 hours. Similarly, the message on stop consuming bakery products as it cannot be washed was also shared with the logo of WHO, to make it more believable.
How to handle food items amid the Coronavirus outbreak?
It has to be noted that the Coronavirus can be transmitted from anyone who is infected with it, be it the grocery delivery person or the shopkeeper. Though experts are of the opinion that the transmission through food is highly unlikely, it is important to sanitise everything (packages) bought from outside by using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitisers. Some experts have also commented that cooked food bought from outside can be microwaved before consuming.