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Publication #FSHN20-9

COVID-19 FAQ for Grocery Stores: Cleaning and Disinfection1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman2

This flyer is best viewed as a PDF. It provides guidance for grocery stores regarding COVID-19.

There is no CDC report that COVID-19 is transmitted through food, but evidence suggests it may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces. CDC recommends cleaning followed by disinfection as a best practice for prevention of COVID-19.


  • CDC advises using compounds on the list of EPA recommended disinfectants, which can be found at: (Note: this list is based on current data, but compounds have not been validated for COVID-19.)

  • Check with chemical suppliers to see if disinfectants are on the lists, effective and if changes need to be made for them to be used effectively.

  • To use heat, run utensils or equipment through a commercial dishwasher that will heat to 145°F (65°C) or higher for five minutes or longer. Alternatively, hot water maintained at or above 145°F (65°C) can be used.


  • EPA recommended commercial disinfectants should be used on the following as often as is practical:

    • Shopping carts, shopping baskets and power scooters

    • Self-check out lines, counters, cafe areas (tables, chairs)

    • All self-service surfaces, including: buffet/salad bar lines, shakers, bottles, condiment stations, etc.

    • Restroom surfaces, including: doorknobs, faucets, handles, etc.

  • Avoid wiping surfaces with water only; use a disinfectant.

  • Utensils in self-service areas should be changed as often as possible. Management should assess how frequently they are used and make decisions.

  • Consider moving self-serve items like condiments and utensils to behind the employee counter to minimize contact, if possible.

For More Information


(800) 232-4636



This document is FSHN20-9, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2020. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication. © NCSU. Used with permission.


Natalie Seymour, MS, Extension associate; Mary Yavelak, MS, Extension associate; Candice Christian, MPH, Extension associate; and Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist; NC State University Extension. UF Contact: Michelle Danyluk, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL | | (863) 956-8654.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.