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COVID-19 FAQ for Grocery Stores: Cleaning and Disinfection1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman 2

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


Publication #FSHN20-9

Date: 5/19/2020

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Fact Sheet

About this Publication

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.

About the Authors

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.


  • Michelle Danyluk