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Food shopping during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

There has been no reported cases of COVID-19 being linked to contaminated food.

The main risk while out shopping is coming into contact with someone who has the virus.

Please remember to:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Minimise contact with people outside of your household

Before you go shopping

  • To protect yourself and others, try to reduce the amount of times you go shopping. You are putting yourself at greater risk than if you were to stay at home
  • If possible, try to not take your children to the shops and try to shop at quieter times to avoid crowds
  • There may be certain times for vulnerable people or health care workers to shop. Please avoid shopping at these times if you do not fall into one of these categories
  • Make a list of what you need and make sure you have enough food to last until your next planned shop
  • Look at what measures your local stores have put in place to help protect you and to help stop the spread of infection. Please use the store that is doing the most to protect its staff and customers

What to do whilst you are shopping

  • Maintain a safe social distance from all other shoppers and staff - this includes routes into and out of the store
  • You may have to queue outside before going into a store
  • If other shoppers are not respecting the safe social distancing space, please move away or remind them about the measures that are in place in a calm, polite and friendly way
  • If you need to use a basket or trolley, ask if it has been sanitised since it was last used.  If not, please sanitise it using your own sanitiser or one provided by the store 
  • Sanitise your hands when you enter the store with your own sanitise or if available, one provided by the store
  • Avoid contact with surfaces as much as possible 
  • Please try and do your shop as quickly as possible and don't stop to neighbours, friends or store staff

What to do after you have finished shopping

  • If you are shopping for a vulnerable person, please leave the shopping on the doorstep, ring the bell or phone them and stand back while they collect it
  • Wash your hands immediately when you return home
  • Create a clear, disinfected space to sort your shopping
  • Wipe the outside or all canned/hard surface pack goods with disposable kitchen roll, warm soapy water and sanitise as Coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces
  • Wipe down your fridge and cupboard handles with sanitiser, disposable kitchen roll and then throw away
  • Wash your hands again after you have unpacked and put your shopping bags away

More information

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has provided a quick guide to safe shopping during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic [PDF].

Read the latest government guidance for consumers on coronavirus (COVID-19) and food.

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