Covid-19 and Food Safety Shopping

Food stores throughout the UK are constantly having to reassess their Covid-19 restrictions to help prevent the spread of the virus.

All of the main food stores recently, have now banned shoppers who do not wear masks, unless they have medical exemption, in addition to enforcing distancing and hand washing.

Experts have now issued guidance on how much risk there is in catching coronavirus at a supermarket, and how we can best keep ourselves as safe as possible.

Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace have highlighted supermarkets as a key location for contracting the virus and we know that the main risk comes from touching infected surfaces, as well as gathering in indoor spaces too close to others who could be infected.

Supermarkets should be no riskier than any other indoor environment but if guidance is not well followed (physical distancing, wearing face masks, use of hand sanitisers and wiping down trolleys), we can minimise the risk, but it is not risk free.

At the start of the pandemic, researchers added the Covid19 virus to surfaces to see whether the virus would live and grow and found the virus could live on some surfaces for up to 72 hours, particularly on stainless steel.

Dr Chris Smith Consultant Virologist and a lecturer based at Cambridge University, has now said the latest research shows that in some conditions the virus could live on a surface for much longer. He told the BBC that subsequent published studies show that the virus may live for as long as 28 days on surfaces in ideal conditions, with little UV light and in a cool environment.

Supermarkets are potentially very risky environments. Supermarkets are usually cooled with air conditioning and have very little natural light. These are two conditions in which the virus is thought to thrive, with lots of people in close contact, some of whom might have the infection. Also, there are metal surfaces including stainless steel which could harbour the virus for longer.

To minimise transmission of the virus from shopping you must:

  • Wash your hands before touching any surfaces;
  • Do not touch your eyes or rub your nose and mouth;
  • Do not touch a face covering if you’ve been in contact with those surfaces, until you’ve washed your hands.

When you go shopping, you should regard supermarkets as potentially infectious and when you get home, you should immediately throw away all of the food packaging, disinfect your sideboards, and wash your hands after handling packaged food.


We all need to be taking the pandemic seriously and understand the measures that we must continue to keep in place. Thinking the pandemic isn’t real, or you’re not going to get the virus is fool-hardy and life-changing.

It is important common-sense strategies are used to keep you and your family safe, in and out of food stores. The more these strategies are taken on board, the more chance we have of reducing the virus.

So, stay safe, keep your distance and remember to mask up when you’re out in public spaces, no matter where you are. The motto, ‘my mask protects you and your mask protects me’ should be at the forefront of our thinking.

The reality is, of course, that without us taking the necessary precautions, it could be months even years before the world rids itself of the virus and we will all still fall foul to the disease with many lives being lost to Covid.

It must be taken seriously. It is not a hoax.


22 Jan, 2021

2 thoughts on “Covid-19 and Food Safety Shopping

  1. Thank you for posting this. I really wish that everyone listened to these cautions and took more responsibility for their behaviour.

    It is clear that food shopping can be a source of the virus, so we must all be especially vigilant while out shopping. We now have a new more virulent strain of the virus, which is more contagious and deadly.

    Everyone can play a part in trying to minimise its spread, but you only have to see how people are behaving to understand why it is not being contained.

    We are in another national lockdown in the UK, but people are obviously flouting the rules and that includes shopping behaviour. I can only reemphasise the message in your final paragraph.

    It will take all of our collective efforts, if we are ever to conquer this terrible virus; we all have an important part to play in this.

    1. Thanks. Yes, more people are falling foul to the disease. It’s isn’t contained and it’s not under control. We must all do more to help and protect each other.

      As you say grocery stores have become a breeding ground for Covid. It is important we all do as much as we can to keep ourselves, and others safe.

      Grocery stores and the NHS are all doing stalwart jobs to keep us safe. It is important we return the favour, by wearing masks and social distance.

      Personally, I think we should all be masked up in public spaces, including going out for walks.

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