4 Myths About The Spread Of COVID-19 Through Food

by Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: June 18, 2020

Misinformation about food and nutrition was already common before COVID, but the pandemic has added a new element to the myths that abound. Where can you find a trusted source of information as you have questions about food in this time of pandemic? At Kroger Health, we’ve gained your trust by providing evidence-based nutrition information for decades, so you can feel comfortable sifting fact from fiction, even in these unusual times. Here are our picks for top myths to clarify for you and your loved ones.
  1. Myth: You can get sick with COVID-19 from the surface of fruits and vegetables.

    Fact: There is no current evidence that fruits and vegetables transmit COVID-19.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states, “We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food.”

    Before consumption of fruits and vegetables, it has always been recommended to wash under cold, running water. If desired, scrub with a produce brush on produce of firmer varieties, such as potatoes or apples. There is no need to lather produce with detergent, vinegars, or soaps, as these may change the texture and flavor of the produce.
  2. Myth: Make sure to stockpile groceries during the pandemic.

    Fact: There is plenty of food for all, if we are only purchasing what we need for the next 1-2 weeks.

    We are so glad you are shopping at Kroger for your groceries; however, we want to convey the message that there is plenty of food to go around. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends, “prepare a shopping list in advance. Buy just 1 to 2 weeks-worth of groceries at a time. Buying more than you need can create unnecessary demand and temporary shortages.” To help plan what to buy for meals, we recommend creating a grocery list including foods from all 5 food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein. This will help ensure that your grocery trips will allow balanced meals and snacks to be prepared.
  3. Myth: Taking a certain vitamin or supplement will prevent COVID-19.

    Fact: There is no evidence that any specific supplement will prevent COVID-19.

    Don’t be fooled with claims or statements on products or supplements. There is no current evidence to support that taking any supplement will prevent or cure COVID-19 infections. Supplements are meant to be taken to support any nutritional gaps, when a nutritional deficiency is identified from lab values. When we eat a variety of flavors, colors, and textures, it ensures that we are getting the proper nutrients to help the body function optimally. If you feel like you are unable to achieve that variety during COVID-19, then ask your medical provider if an over the counter multivitamin would be a good option.
  4. Myth: Eating healthy is impossible during COVID-19.

    Fact: It is possible to achieve healthy eating, even during a pandemic.

    We know that COVID-19 is affecting everyone differently. Our routines, budgets, and even our eating patterns have changed. Even with the changes we are all experiencing, we have the power to eat healthy today, because eating healthy does not mean eating perfectly. Eating healthy simply means choosing the most nutrient-dense food choices, of the food that is currently available and accessible at our fingertips. Forms like dried, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables can help to close nutritional gaps in a way that is still affordable and accessible, even during times of crisis.

During this time of uncertainty, we want to provide stability for you. Consider setting up a virtual appointment with one of our dietitians, so we can help find nutrient dense food choices that fit your lifestyle. We would love to help you feel more confident eating healthy during this phase of life.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna is a positive, motivating dietitian who is ready to help make healthy happen in your life. Whether you have a medical condition or hoping to get back to your goal weight, Anna is eager to connect you with tasty recipes, budget-friendly food products, and time-saving hacks to ensure that your goals will be achieved. Outside of work, Anna enjoys barre/pilates, sushi, and online shopping!