Everyone is working hard right now to keep ourselves, our family, and our communities healthy. Two important practices we can all do to protect against COVID-19, also commonly referred to as Coronavirus, is to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet while on essential trips, such as getting food, and frequent hand washing. There is much confusion around COVID-19 and the food we eat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not consider COVID-19 to be a foodborne illness since it is a respiratory virus affecting the lungs. A foodborne illness is an infection or irritation of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and parasites. FoodWIse encourages following these helpful food safety tips to keep you and your family safe from foodborne germs and illness.
Wash hands often
- with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (sing the ABC’s)
- as soon as you get home
- after putting groceries away
- before and after preparing food
- before eating or serving others
- only use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
Clean food preparation surfaces
- wash with warm water and soap to remove germs, dirt, and food debris
- rinse away debris and soapy water with warm water
- disinfect these now clean surfaces with a dilute bleach solution or household cleaner, use as directed, by spraying or wiping on surface and letting air dry. Bleach disinfectant for kitchens 1 teaspoon bleach per quart (4 cups) of water.
Store foods properly
- keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer at 0°F or below
- refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of preparing
- store raw meat on the lower shelf of your refrigerator (in a pan or on a plate to prevent it from dripping) and keep fruits and vegetables separate
Keep Leftovers Safe
- Store Leftovers in shallow containers with lids
- Leftover prepared food (such as takeout) can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days
- Reheat and eat leftover or freeze them within 4 days
Keep fruits and vegetables a part of your diet
- with fresh, frozen, or canned all being healthy options
- focus on adding fruits and vegetables to all meals
- wash fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Do not use soap, detergents, or bleach, these products are not made for human consumption.
- use a separate cutting board, or wash the board between uses, when also preparing raw meats
Cook, or reheat, foods to a safe internal temperature
- 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb
- 160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork
- 165°F for poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
- 165°F for leftovers and casseroles
- 145°F for fresh ham (raw) and seafood
For more information and more tips on food safety during COVID-19, visit the UW-Madison Division of Extension Safe & Healthy Food for Your Family webpage at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/safefood/. For more information specific to COVID-19 resources from the Division of Extension, visit the webpage at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/covid19/.