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10/12/2021

Grocery Store Surfaces Pose Minimal Risk for COVID-19 Transmission: Study

Stringent sanitation still recommended part of protocol in keeping shoppers safe
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Grocery Store Surfaces Pose Minimal Risk for COVID-19 Transmission: Study
Canadian researchers who collected samples on several grocery store surfaces found no positive results for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Assuaging fears that led many shoppers to don gloves and douse themselves with hand sanitizer in the first phase of the pandemic, a Canadian study found that chances of picking up the virus that causes COVID-19 from grocery store surfaces is low.

Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario took nearly 1,000 samples at four different grocery stores in population-dense, high-traffic areas, swabbing areas like grocery cart handles, conveyor belts and freezer doors over a one month period. After testing twice a week for a month, none of the areas showed positive results for the virus, according to the findings published in the journal, Current Research in Food Science. The location, sampling day or time, location within the store or surface material did not affect the negative sampling for SARS-CoV-2.

"These results suggest that if stores enforce regular sanitizing routines and monitor the health of store personnel, the risk of exposure from high-touch surfaces within a grocery store is low," said Dr. Maria Corradini, an associate professor of food sciences with the University of Guelph. “We believe that cleaning and disinfecting contact surfaces along with wearing masks significantly minimize the risk of transmission from surfaces in grocery stores to humans.”

The study affirms what health officials, including those at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been saying in more recent months about the spread of COVID-19: It is largely airborne and surfaces are less of a factor than first believed.

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