It has come to the attention of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been several fraudulent products put on the market that claim they are disinfectants or sanitizers when they are not. Because of consumer use of these products, health officials have seen an increase in adverse health effects.

In addition, Cornell Cooperative Extension wants to make sure people are using disinfectants and sanitizers properly to avoid health issues. Below, officials offer guidelines

Disinfectants are pesticides and you can only use them as directed by the label. Therefore:

· Never mix different disinfectant products together because doing so is dangerous. For example, mixing bleach with acids (such as vinegar) or ammonia releases life-threatening toxic fumes.

· Never use disinfectants or disinfectant wipes on your skin. Instead, wash with soap and water; you can also use hand sanitizer on your hands.

· Never wash fruits and vegetables with soap, sanitizers, or disinfectants as this could also result in poisoning. Wash produce only in clean water.

When it comes to food safety, check out the following recommendations:

1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.

2. If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, cut away the damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.

3. Rinse produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.

4. Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.

5. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.

6. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.

7. Remove the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.

Store perishable produce in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees.

You can get more information on handling food and disinfecting your home at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/.