A Michigan doctor advises sanitizing groceries to prevent coronavirus spread — but others say washing produce with soap is a bad idea

Share on Nextdoor
click to enlarge Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen. - Screenshot / YouTube
Screenshot / YouTube
Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen.

A Michigan doctor is advising people to leave their groceries outside for three days before touching them to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

If that's not possible, Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a family medicine doctor in Grand Rapids, says to thoroughly disinfect and remove any outside packaging.

A recent study by U.S. government scientists found that coronavirus could live on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.

"This all seems a bit time consuming, but, in truth, these days people do have a bit more time on their hands," Dr VanWingen said in the viral video, which had more than 19,000 views as of Sunday. "Let’s be methodical and be safe, and not take any chances."

But other scientists take issue with some of VanWingen's advice. Leaving perishable groceries outside will spoil or rot them, especially now that it's spring. Others says it's actually a bad idea to wash fruits and vegetables with soap as soap can make people sick if ingested, and say simply rinsing them in cold water will suffice.

Plus, the report found it was viral RNA that was surviving on the tested surfaces — not necessarily infectious particles.

Still, other advice from VanWingen is sound. He also advises people to spend as little time in the grocery store as possible, use hand sanitizer, wipe down shopping carts with disinfectant, and go shopping for those older than 60.

You can watch the video below.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.