Safe Food for Nutrition and Health Benefits

Top home food safety measures during COVID-19 pandemic, by experts

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As the increased risk for complications, including older adults and individuals with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, experts such as dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, and other food and nutrition professionals have offered nutrition articles, tips, video and activities for individuals and families managing the challenging conditions of the COVID-19 outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States equally offers accurate and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 outbreak, and how cum why the global community should take extra precautions to protect their health.

It was learnt that of there are concerns regarding COVID-19, also known as the novel Coronavirus disease 2019.

As a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, COVID-19 is affecting communities throughout the world, and organisations such as the CDC, World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and other health and disease control agencies are also encouraging individuals and families to stay home as much as possible.

According to these institutions, this is important especially if there is an outbreak in their community.

It is currently recommended that if you develop a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, to call your healthcare provider before going to the hospital or emergency room.

Food and beverages safety concerns

While practising home food safety and good personal hygiene is always important, hand washing is especially critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and should be done often, says EatRight.

It is recommended that before preparing or eating food, it’s important to wash your hands with clean water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.

You should also wash your hands after being out in public, touching your face, coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, or using the bathroom.

If handwashing is not an option, hand sanitiser with at least 60-percent alcohol may be used until soap and water become available.

Other practices, such as cleaning and disinfecting countertops and other surfaces can also serve as protection to you and others.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, CDC and the US Department of Agriculture, there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging, but sharing food and beverages is discouraged.

Experts say that the virus spreads from person-to-person through close contact or respiratory droplets, for instance, when a person coughs or sneezes.

However, it may be possible for viruses to survive on surfaces and objects, reinforcing the need to observe proper hygiene, food and beverages safety practices.

When ordering takeout or having food delivered, observe good physical distancing, maintaining a distance of between two and six feet whenever possible.

Proper food safety practices should always be implemented while preparing foods. This includes frequently washing hands with soap and water and washing surfaces and utensils with hot soapy water after each use.

Regular hand washing, along with routine cleaning and disinfecting, especially all frequently touched surfaces, remain the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Access to food

During this public health emergency, government agencies have developed flexibilities to help individuals who use programmes such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also developed plans for children who participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programmes so that they are able to have continued access to food during prolonged school closures.

ConsumerConnect reports a similar arrangement has been activated in the country as Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has stated that it will continue the school feeding programme in the country while the pupils are at home during the lockdown to cushion in the impacts of the Coronavirus epidemic and its attendant social dislocations in the economy.

Older adults and other individuals who are considered at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 should evaluate the foods they have at home.

If you are at high-risk or are unable to get the items you need, consider contacting family or friends to assist.

Meal delivery and grocery delivery services may be available as an alternative option, and many businesses are offering additional precautions to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Supplements and claims for cures

Currently, there are no known cures for COVID-19, though research is underway to develop a vaccine, reports indicate.

In its continuing efforts to protect consumers, therefore, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been monitoring and warning companies that offer fraudulent products which claim to help prevent, diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19. Untested supplements and other products touted as prevention or cure to COVID-19 that are not regulated by the FDA may be dangerous and potentially life threatening, reports EatRight.

In this regard, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FDA are said to have  jointly issued warning letters to sellers of unapproved and misbranded products claiming they can treat or prevent the virus.

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