How to safely grocery shop: DOH expert weighs-in

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Shipping companies have assured that supplies will continue to come to Hawaii during the COVID-19 outbreak, and grocery shopping is allowed under the stay at home order.

How can you protect yourself, your family, and others when going out to get food or supplies?

Department of Health food safety expert Peter Oshiro spoke with KHON2 Tuesday to give tips on how to safely shop.

Oshiro recommends to stay away from the grocery store as much as possible.

“Don’t be afraid to go, but don’t go to the grocery store just to be looking around please go only when there’s a need.”

Fruit and vegetables are to be washed thoroughly with water, but not soap. Most soaps aren’t food grade and can be harmful to eat. The Food and Drug Administration says “Foodbourne exposure to the virus is not known to be a route of transmission.”

Other goods can be wiped down.

“So the object is wash your hands before you go anyplace.” Oshiro said.

“Right now most grocery stores have sanitizing wipes right at the front counter take advantage of that.”

It’s good practice to clean any surface that came into contact with your groceries, like your kitchen counter.

When in public, keep your distance of at least six feet as much as possible.

“Most of the supermarkets have been really good about putting tapes on the ground when you’re in line checking out to keep people apart.” Oshiro said.

Even with plastic bag bans in effect for many of the state’s counties, Oshiro says common reusable bags should be avoided.

“From the Department of Health’s standpoint anything reusable is bad right now. We don’t want things coming into the stores that a family has touched that unknowingly might be infected with COVID-19 or everything else that might be out there.”

Many stores have special Kupuna hours, but if you’re at risk being elderly or have health issues have someone else shop for you.

“Especially if you’re immunocomprimised take advantage of those things but of course if you don’t have any other resort than go during off peak hours.”

There are also many options for payment. Credit cards and electronic payments like Apple Pay require less hand-to-hand contact.

“The less things you pass between you and another person the better. If you do have apple pay or those kind of things that limit the amount of touching between people of course that’s better than handing cash over back and forth.”

Of course, the DOH also recommends washing your hands when you get home as well as before eating or preparing food.

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