Was COVID-19 found on fruits and vegetables, long after an infected customer touched them?
Find out what the facts are, and how to safely purchase fruits and vegetables to avoid COVID-19!
The COVID-19 Found On Fruits & Vegetables Hoax
This message has been circulating on WhatsApp for a few days, claiming that a Hong Kong laboratory found trace amounts of the COVID-19 virus on the skin of fruits and vegetables long after an infected person touched them.
From trusted source in Hong Kong today:
“In our laboratory, we found trace amount of the virus on the skin of fruits and vegetables after 12 hours of being touched by another customer who was infected.
We recommend our staff to avoid salads. Do not eat the fruits within 48 hours of purchase, or pour some boiling water over the fruit before cutting. Berries, apples, cucumbers and tomatoes are the worst because some people eat the skin.
This explains why the virus is spreading faster in the west than asia. Most Asians do not eat salad and very few people eat the skin of any fruit.
We have to assume anything that comes from outside our home within 48 hours is infected. Shoes, clothes, our hair, all food.”
COVID-19 Found On Fruits & Vegetables Hoax Debunked!
Well, this is yet another fake post about COVID-19 spreading through fruits and vegetables. And here are the reasons why…
Reason #1 : No News Report On Such A Tremendous Discovery
If this Hong Kong laboratory did indeed find the COVID-19 virus persisting on the skin of fruits and vegetables, it would have been headline news worldwide.
Health authorities would have to issue directives on how to keep fresh produce clean and clear of the COVID-19 coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2).
Yet, there is not a single reliable news report on such a tremendous discovery.
Reason #2 : How Did The Lab Know When The Customer Touched What Fruits?
The laboratory claimed to have tested fruits and vegetables that were touched by an infected customer some 12 hours earlier. How did they know?
First, how did they know the customer was infected? Most asymptomatic patients are not detected until days later, and it takes hours if not a day, to get a test result. How were they privy to the test results?
How did they know the customer touched what fruit or vegetables, and WHEN? And how likely is it that the contaminated fruit or vegetable would have remained unpurchased by someone else?
The story has way too many holes to be believable…
Reason #3 : COVID-19 Not Proven To Spread Through Fruits / Vegetables
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through fruits and vegetables.
In fact, they point out that the COVID-19 virus cannot survive long on food, and the greatest risk of contracting it is from touching a shopping cart or shopping basket.
Reason #4 : Soap Destroys COVID-19
There is no need to keep your fruits for 48 hours. Neither do you need to pour boiling water over the fruits, before cutting them.
Simply washing them with water and food-safe soap will destroy the virus, just like how washing hands with soap.
Reason #5 : COVID-19 Is Spreading Worldwide
COVID-19 is not spreading in the West “faster” than in the East. It’s spreading rapidly WORLDWIDE.
This is due to the ease by which people travel these days – whether it’s by air, rail, or public transport.
That’s why many countries are imposing home quarantines or movement restrictions, to cut the chain of infection.
Reason #6 : Asia Was NOT Spared
The hypothesis that Asians are less susceptible because they do not eat the skin of fruits, or salad, is clearly false, because COVID-19 is rapidly spreading across Asia.
Until recently, China had the most COVID-19 cases in the world.
How To Avoid COVID-19 On Fruits & Vegetables
Now, COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, and can persist for a short time.
So it is entirely possible that an infected person may transmit the virus droplets to fruits and vegetables by handling them, or coughing / sneezing near them.
That’s why health experts are advising you to only touch what you wish to purchase, and wash your produce with soap and water.
It is actually common for people to wash fruits and vegetables with food-safe soap to get rid of dirt and pesticides, especially if they plan on eating them raw.
While we cannot advocate any particular food-safe soap, here are some you can buy online (prices as of 26 March 2020) :
- Pureen (600 ml) : RM 10.25 | RM 10.50 | RM 11.50 | RM 11.50
- Pureen (600 ml x 4) : RM 43.50 | RM 45 | RM 48.68
- Pureen (600 ml x 12) : RM 122
- Safeguard (750 ml) : RM 20.90
- THREELAB BIO Eco (500 ml) : RM 33.90 | RM 33.90
- THREELAB BIO Eco (500 ml x 2) : RM 66.30 | RM 66.30
- THREELAB BIO Eco (500 ml x 6) : RM 193.80
- Bacoff (500 ml) : RM 25 | RM 26.90
- Harvest Pure (437 ml) : RM 21.50 |RM 22 | RM 27
- Harvest Pure (437 ml x 2) : RM 54
- E-Clean Powder (300 g) : RM 14.90
- DXN Vege Celen (250 ml) : RM 21.50
- Auro from Germany (500 ml) : RM 83.72
- Pureen (600 ml) : S$5.50 | S$5.50
- Pureen (600 ml x 3) : S$14.82 | S$15.60 | S$15.60
- Pureen (600 ml x 12) : S$57.60
- Bacoff (500 ml) : S$14.90 | S$15.50
- ECOS (650 ml) : S$8.30
- Nature Love Mere (500 ml) : S$7.90
- Nature Love Mere (750 ml) : S$9.90
- Nature Love Mere (1250 ml) : S$15.90
- Veggie Wash (16 oz x 3) : $96
- Arm & Hammer (16.9 oz) : $7.50
- 23.4° (72 oz x 3) : $22.46
- Vegeaqua (10.6 oz) : $13.85
- Microdyn (1000 ml) : $44.99
- Fit Organic (32 oz x 3) : $44.99
- Environne (16 oz x 6) : $25.60
- Ecological (500 ml) : £14.95
- Veggie Wash (16 oz) : A$10.44
- Veggie Wash (1 gallon) : A$91.94
- 23.4° (72 oz x 3) : A$42.03
- Varna (500 ml x 6) : A$125.99
- ATTITUDE (27.1 oz) : A$10.18
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