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YouTube video shows how to sterilize grocery packages so you aren't bringing coronavirus into your home. Take a look and share this widely, as it could save lives.

PMG PHOTO: BARB RANDALL  - Barb Randall is following advice she learned from Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen through a YouTube presentation to keep from bringing in contaminents on the foods she purchases at the grocery store. She shares VanWingens tips today, and encourages all to watch the YouTube presentation.

I thought I was doing my part to lower the curve of the coronavirus pandemic by going to the grocery story just once a week, but a YouTube video I watched this morning (March 20) has me convinced that we should be grocery shopping just every two weeks. Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a family practice physician in Michigan, shared information on how we use a sterile technique similar to that used in operating rooms to keep our food and families safe.. After you watch it please share it with friends and family so we can all benefit from his advice.

VanWingen says to wipe down the whole grocery cart, not just the handle, and suggests this is not the time to be using our reusable bags. Since in Oregon it is the law, I am washing my cloth bags after every use. Here are some of ways you can better protect your food and your family:

  • Commit to buying products before you pick them up. I watched a man in the market contemplating which of two packages of meat he was going to purchase. He held both of them in his hands, then put back the one he didn't want. I carefully avoided the package he had touched when I made my selection.

  • Don't go to the store if you have any respiratory ailments, and VanWingen says nobody over 60 should be in the stores at all. Get younger family members to do the shopping or use a grocery delivery service. (He had tips too for processing your grocery delivery service. Don't immediately bring the box inside your home. Watch the video for specifics on that.)

  • Plan what you are going to buy so you can minimize your time in the store. Make that list before you go.

    The video shows you how to unpack your groceries to avoid contaminating your clean kitc;hen. VanWingen's sterile technique is an easy procedure to use at home.

    He starts by cleaning the kitchen counter where you will process the goods with disinfectant, then setting up a "clean" and a "dirty" side of the counter. Grocery bags can only be placed on the dirty side. The foods are then removed from the grocery bag, wiped down with disinfectant and then placed on the clean side. Cans and jars require just a wipe with disinfectant on paper towels. Foods like cereal, which are packed in bags then slipped into cardboard boxes, should be removed from the cardboard and then the bag wiped clean with disinfectant.

    Coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, so you want to get rid of boxes. If frozen pizza is a family favorite, remove it from the cardboard box and put it into your freezer in the plastic wrapping.

    Fresh fruit should be washed just like your hands, as fruit is porous. VanWingen plunges fruit into warm sudsy water and then washes it for 20 seconds just like he would wash his hands. Rinse with cool water and your fruit is ready to eat.

    Vegetables can be left in the plastic produce bags, but you must disinfect the bags thoroughly before putting them in your fridge. I use mesh produce bags, and will no longer take them to the store. I'll use the plastic produce bags from the grocery, then transfer the veggies to clean fabric bags in my kitchen.

    Keep contaminated containers on one side of your work space, then get them out of your house immediately.

    To store breads VanWingen advises putting the slices in an airtight plastic container rather than keeping them in the plastic bag from the grocery.

    The coronavirus pandemic will be with us for longer than we can imagine, and it is up to each and everyone of us to do our part to keep ourselves healthy and safe. These techniques will help.

    Please watch the video then share it with your loved ones.

    Keep contaminated containers on one side of your work space, then get them out of your house immediately.

    I received word March 26 that Nicky USA, the Pacific Northwest's premiere game meat purveyor, has launched an online fire sale. This is a new digital, direct-to-customer model that will be in place as long as the state coronavirus protection measures are in place. So you can buy Nicky USA products, specialty meats, game meats and paper products including toilet paper, paper towels and napkins through the fire sale. A featured item is the Nicky Family Pack, designed for multiple dinners for two to four people. The pack includes 5 1-pound packs of ground chuck, 1 pound of ground pork, 1 pound Italian sausages, 3 pounds of 6-ounce Carlton pork chops, 2 1/2 pounds of Draper boneless skinless chicken thighs, and a 3 to 4 pound chuck roast for $79.99. Visit to view the current fire sale offerings.

    No recipe today. Instead please order take out foods to support our local restaurants.

    One last thought: Let's cut the hoarding. Buy what you need and will use. We are all in this together — do what you can to make life better for others.

    Bon Appetit! Choose to be kind.

    Barb Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached by phone at 503-479-2473 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Got wine?

    As most wineries in the world, the Willamette Valley has closed the doors to its tasting rooms. However the Willamette Valley Wineries Association has launched #WVCommunity to connect consumers and winemakers during this time.

    The Willamette Valley Wineries Association has consolidated all of the online specials, sales, etc. on its website to make it easier for wineries to connect with consumers. Visit to learn the latest news.

    The website will be showcasing winemaker profiles, recipes (think pantry staples and wine pairings) social media feeds, winemaker playlists and more.

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