How to deal with fresh veggies?

Posted by: Nomad

How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/24/20 02:41 AM

As an 80 year old guy with many health "issues", I am quite concerned about keeping my home free of contamination. So we got some fresh veggies from a local store. Take an onion for instance. How do I decontaminate an onion? I suggested that all unpackaged veggies should be soaked in a bleach solution. Ms Nomad had a few unkind words about that method, although she had no alternative.

I worked in a hospital for many years and did the standard infection control training with the black light powder. Each of us put our fingertips on a pad and then went about some simple tasks. After about half an hour they turn out the lights and turn on some black (ultraviolet) lights. It was amazing to see how far the powder had spread. We all had glowing blue splotches on our face and other parts of our body. It made quite an impression on me. And this was just from a single touch to the pad with only our fingertips.

So now I sit and look at the onions, carrots and other stuff wondering how to proceed. So far it is all outside. I have been wandering the internet looking for advice and guidance finding little of real use. Lots of generalizations like 1/3 cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Yeah, then what?

So far, we have not left our space for about a week. I need to go to the VA hospital for a check after some cancer surgery. The thought of leaving our "bubble" and driving into Tucson is frightening to say the least.

How are folks here dealing with the contamination issue?

Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/24/20 04:02 AM

I've been using the same routine as for chemical and Hep A contamination on store-bought fruits and vegetables.

Anything that will be eaten raw gets a good wash/scrub in water with a little dish soap, followed by a thorough rinse, before prep and eating. Peppers, apples, grapes, snap/snow peas, maybe carrots. This includes oranges, since prep can move nasties onto the inner flesh. If the package says "washed and ready to eat" it means it has been given a bleach rinse of appropriate concentration and duration; I may still wash, depending on my mood.

Anything that will be peeled and cooked gets no special treatment, except a rinse to remove dirt if needed. The cutting board and tools get a soap and water wash after prep, as do hands.

Any frozen veg has already been blanched in steam or boiling water, and will be cooked anyway. No problem there.

Edit: if it comes prep-packaged in a plastic bag, the surface of the plastic is more likely to carry CV-19 than the contents. IMHO, a good wipe with a cloth and soapy water is likely the best cure. But I'm no medical professional.
Posted by: nursemike

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/24/20 02:32 PM

The CDC is pretty careful in its language, saying that they don't really know about CV-19 in the environment, but that person to person is the major transmission route.
That said, viruses are generally pretty fragile, more so than bacteria and parasites.

I think Doug has it just about perfect.
Posted by: Nomad

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/24/20 03:03 PM

Thanks for the help. Really appreciated.

Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/25/20 03:07 PM

FWIW, an article today discussing these issues:
Posted by: Nomad

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/25/20 04:04 PM

Here is a link to a video by a nurse showing proper handling of groceries.

Posted by: haertig

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/25/20 06:37 PM

I am not to the point where I'm going to be spraying down my bags of frozen corn with bleach, or boiling my banana in a bucket of Clorox. If things are really that bad, there's no preventing getting this virus, no matter what you do.

Theoretically, it may be safer. Practically, I'm not so sure. But everybody should proceed as they see fit.
Posted by: nursemike

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 03/25/20 10:37 PM

Originally Posted By: haertig
If things are really that bad, there's no preventing getting this virus, no matter what you do.

All true, Haertig. But it is also true that there's no preventing getting this virus.
No vaccine, no cure. As long as the virus exists in the population, which it does, big time, but we do not know because we have not tested enough people, arguably, eighty per cent of the population will get Covid 19< sooner or later. Flattening the curve does not change the area under the curve, the total number of folks who will contract the disease. Fifteen percent will have serious illness-maybe. We do not have enough data to tell, have only been looking at this disease sine January. Flattening the curve is not about avoiding infection, it's about extending the timeline and avoiding lines at the ICU. But we don't know, because we haven't tested.
Same applies to the Fox News article about transfer of disease by physical objects: no proof that it happens, but no studies that prove it does not. Noravirus, Hep A and e. coli transmits by groceries, but those are fecal-oral transmission pathogens, and lots of places use fecal fertilizer.

So 80% get the virus, 15% get seriously, and the folks who get seriously ill are predominantly old or immune-compromised. If we can flatten the curve, perhaps we can do civilian triage, and try to save them all. If not, we will do military triage, and write off the least likely to benefit. If we do the latter, we can abandon the social-distance experiment and get the economy moving again. It's a classic survival ethical calculus, discussed a thousand times on the this forum.
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: How to deal with fresh veggies? - 04/06/20 11:14 AM

The usual advice is that the virus survives up to 3 days on hard surfaces like steel or plastic, and up to 12 hours on soft surfaces like cardboard and cloth. That's in lab conditions. Probably less in the real world, especially if exposed to sunlight. It can't reproduce in onions or other veg - it needs a living animal host, and only specific animals, mainly humans. So it should be fine to treat fruit as an other surface and just not touch it for a suitable time.