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In times of COVID-19, sharing a small bowl of dipping sauce poses big risks

Update: March, 28/2020 - 18:55

HCM CITY — Assoc Dr Nguyễn Thị Lâm, former deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition, has called on people not to stick to their habit of sharing dipping sauces during their meals amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

While eating at home is considered the safest option at this time, families need to consider changing their usual habit of sharing one small bowl of dipping sauce, she said.

Many people think sharing a small bowl of sauce is a normal and natural thing to do when each person has a pair of chopsticks to pick their food and dip it in a small bowl of fish sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, tomato sauce, or seasoning. Sharing dipping sauce is also a sign of togetherness in the family.

Amid the pandemic, eating at home is a necessity for many people, but sharing dipping sauce carries the risk of spreading diseases.

Besides Covid-19, there are also many other diseases that can spread from one person to another when bowls of dipping sauces are shared.

Lâm encourages families not to share the same dipping sauce bowl when eating together.

This could cause viruses that cause infectious diseases such as influenza, mumps and hepatitis, HP bacteria that cause stomach cancer and bacteria that cause tuberculosis to attack healthy people. The most dangerous at this time is the coronavirus hidden in saliva.

If one member of the family has the virus but does not know it, sharing sauces can spread the virus to the whole family. So this risk should not be underestimated.

In addition to the risk of spreading infectious diseases, sharing sauces also means not all members are able to absorb all the vitamins and minerals in the sauces. It is not difficult to see a sauce bowl getting mixed with vegetables or water from food that dips in the sauce, which leads to a reduction in the micronutrients in the sauce.

Uyên Phương, sales director at a real estate company in HCM City’s District 2, said her family has a habit of gathering friends for BBQs and hotpots at the weekend. If each person has to have their own sauce bowl, she needs to get many of them. After all, since they are close friends, she knows they take good care of their health, and so feels free to let everyone share dipping sauces, both adults and children.

Negligence and lack of knowledge provide an opportunity for infectious diseases such as Covid-19, HP bacteria and the influenza virus to spread besides posing many other health risks.

A family meal is when the whole family gathers. The people doing the cooking always try to choose safe and nutritious ingredients and make delicious dishes to nourish their loved ones.

But when eating, each person should use a separate sauce bowl to dip their food so that eating at home makes us feel completely secure amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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