Question & Answer

Does disinfecting food packaging prevent the spread of COVID-19?

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  • In mid-March 2020, claims circulated on social media that it is necessary to disinfect packaging to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that you need to disinfect packaging to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Irish food safety agency, Safe Food, has stated that “it is not necessary to sanitise the outside of food packaging, and the risk from handling food packaging is very low.”
  • The World health Organisation advise to thoroughly wash your hands before and after shopping, and again after unpacking and storing your shopping.

Things to Remember


  • Lead Researcher: Dr Hannah Delaney, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, NUI Galway & Trinity College Dublin.
  • Reviewed by: Prof Declan Devane, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Prof Dearbháile Morris School of Medicine, and Centre for One Health, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Anne Daly, PPI Ignite, NUI Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times.