Top Tips for Grocery Shopping

06 May, 2020

We have a shared responsibility at KAUST to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

One of the most asked questions related to food safety is whether COVID-19 lurks in food and food packaging. Can fresh fruit in the supermarket be contaminated? Is food packaging safe to keep at home? How long does coronavirus survive on surfaces? 

The good news is that there is currently no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of coronavirus, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Saudi Ministry Of Health. However, it remains possible that the virus can get onto food if an infected person is in contact with it, or has coughed or sneezed on it, so there are some sensible precautions we can all take.  

Please consider the following tips to keep yourself and your food safe during this time. 

Tips before shopping 

  • Write a list of what you need for the coming week.  
  • Check the Tamimi QCam before heading to the store.  
  • Shop considerately. There is plenty of stock and there is no need to panic buy. 
  • You must wear a face covering while queuing and inside the store.  
  • Bring hand sanitizer. 
  • Wipe your shopping cart before using it. 
  • People with risk factors may want to avoid going shopping. Contact the COVID-19 Operations Hub at or 012 808 0950 if you need assistance. 

Tips during shopping  

  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth) with unwashed hands. If you do touch your face, sanitize your hands. 
  • Respect social distancing by keeping at least 2 meters (6 feet) between you and other individuals. 
  • Avoid touching items on shelves other than the ones you plan to buy and minimize touching of other surfaces such as countertops or door handles. 
  • A selection of pre-weighed produce is available for pickup. Packaging of the bags has been completed following strict hygiene directives.  
  • Go contactless: Avoid cash payment and use a credit card. 
  • Keep your face covering on until you have left the supermarket. Learn more about using face coverings

Tips once home  

  • Wash your hands properly (20-40 seconds) immediately after your return home and before touching any household items or family members. 
  • Consider removing secondary unnecessary food packaging material before storing. 
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables just before preparation/consumption. Do not use bleach, chlorine, isopropyl alcohol, or disinfectant wipes directly on foods as these could make you sick. 
  • Wash your hands after handling food packaging. 

Germs move more easily than you may think! 
Remember, the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently. Here’s how

This video shows how germs can spread while you shop: 


You can also check out this video from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA):



Learn more 


If you have any concerns about the safety of food or practices by your food handlers, please get in touch with or

Let’s all work together to keep our community safe! 

Kind regards, 
Community Life Food Safety & Quality Assurance