While a lot of us are staying home to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, we all recognize the contributions of the hard-working men and women who not only produce our food, but also those that transport them, distribute them, stock them on grocery shelves, and sell them to us. Americans and Canadians are more than just neighbors and friends, we’re in this together.
To help prevent the spread of this pandemic, we recommend that you follow Health Canada guidance, and we encourage you to take the following precautions to protect yourself and others in your community.
At home :
- Wash your hands: it is recommended to wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds before preparing, cooking and eating food and caring for children.
- Sanitize house surfaces: sanitize your home by disinfecting hard surfaces by wiping down kitchen counters, along with refrigerator handles and door knobs.
- Wash fruits and vegetables: wash thoroughly under running water and leave to dry. You can use a vegetable brush to clean firm-skinned vegetables. Do not use soap to wash your fruits and vegetables or soak them in the sink. Bacteria in the sink can contaminate your food.
- Clean your groceries: Suggested to wipe packaged products with antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray or store them for 72 hours before using them.
At the Grocery Store :
Now more than ever, you have a big role to play to keep yourself, family and community safe. Retail Council of Canada launched a #ShopSmart campaign to help Canadians know what they need to do and not to do when shopping at grocery stores. We encourage you all to follow these steps:
- Avoid touching food that will not end up in your shopping cart;
- Make a clear and concise grocery list to limit the time you spend in the grocery store;
- Do not hesitate to include an assortment of fresh and varied products to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet in this time of isolation;
- Shop Alone! Avoid going with peers, as some grocery stores will not allow you to go in a group or with your partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are U.S. producers taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Yes, farmers and processors in the United States are working tirelessly to face this challenge and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure Americans and Canadians have access to safe, healthy food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is addressing a lot of frequently asked questions raised by consumers and trade on its website.
Will there be shortages of food coming from the United States to Canada?
Currently, there are no shortages of U.S. food supplies entering into Canada. The U.S. Government and agricultural industry are working with their Canadian counterparts to prevent disruptions in the North American food supply chain.
Can COVID-19 virus be transmitted through food?
There is currently no scientific evidence that COVID-19 is a foodborne illness. However, it is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching an unclean surface where the virus may have been left on the surface of the product or package. It is therefore important to always follow basic hygiene rules such as washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds thoroughly prior to eating and meal preparation, washing food well before eating, and coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow.
Is it safe to buy foods imported from the United States?
Yes, it is. Farmers and producers in the United States are taking precautionary measures to ensure the food supplied to their local markets and to export markets around the world, including Canada, is safe to eat.
Is it risky to buy fruits and vegetables that are not packaged?
No, it’s not. However, it’s important to wash fresh fruits and vegetables once you bring them home and again before consuming them. Washing with water by rubbing the surfaces is sufficient. There is no need to add detergent.
For More Information
We recommend you check the following websites for more information about the impact of COVID-19 and answers to more frequently asked questions.
In the United States:
- Canadian Produce Marketing Association
- Quebec Produce Marketing Association
- Retail Council of Canada