In the U.S., consumer concern has escalated with daily reports of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), amidst ongoing cancellations of major entertainment events and business conferences, airline cutbacks, postponements of professional sports leagues, and school closings. Citizens are also now being asked to stay indoors and keep their contact with others to a minimum.1
In response, consumers have begun to fill their grocery carts with essential food, health products, and emergency supplies, leaving shelves empty while retailers and other businesses are increasing communications in an effort educate both employees and customers.
To get a better idea of how consumers are adjusting to grocery shopping during this pandemic, The Packer commissioned a survey which polled that more than 40% of consumers say they are changing their fresh produce purchasing because of the spread of the coronavirus.2
Roughly 14% said they are buying more fresh produce to try and be healthier in case they are exposed to the coronavirus.2 About 12% are buying more packaged fresh produce and less bulk to ensure that other shoppers hadn’t been touching the product while it was on display — although health officials have said there is no known transmission via food products.2
In reassurance, United Fresh Produce Association, Produce Marketing Association and The Food Marketing Institute issued a joint statement on the matter of food transmission and the coronavirus:3
“There are no clinically confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to the consumption of fresh produce or food sold through traditional retail outlets. As consumers select their produce, adhering to food safety guidance is critical. We encourage consumers to wash their hands, and wash and prepare their produce following FDA recommendations.” 3
And according to the Food and Drug Administration, there are not current reports at this time that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.4 However, it is always important to follow good hygiene4 practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook meat to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.4
Food safety educators suggest consumers take these steps:5
- Wash hands frequently, including after a trip to the grocery store;
- Resist the urge to “manipulate” produce items on bulk displays, despite touching different items being a typical part of the selection process;
- Avoid bulk produce if immune-compromised, choosing packaged produce as an added caution, or cook the produce before eating; and
- Wash produce thoroughly
Some Immunity Boosting Champions
Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet has shown to increase overall health, including the immune system and help’s our body’s ability to fight infections.5
Be proactive and include citrus in your grocery shopping for that immunity boosting Vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase the production of white blood cells which are key to fighting infections. Our bodies do not store Vitamin C, so make sure to have your daily citrus to help keep you on track.
Garlic is low in calories and rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. A 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% and that the average length of a cold was reduced by 70% in comparison to placebos.6
To learn more about the current situation, you may follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for updates regarding the coronavirus.
If you have any questions regarding Fox Packaging and our measures to ensure safety for our customers, employees, and products, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.