Is Eating Takeout Safe During COVID-19?

Eating Takeout food prepared in restaurants appears to be a safe choice.

Infectious Disease Experts Weigh In On Eating Takeout

The Food and Drug Administration currently states that “there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19.”

 Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, explains “While COVID-19 is new to us, coronaviruses are not. All the studies on these viruses, there has never been any information to implicate food-borne transmission.”

Dr. Olga Padilla-Zakour, a food safety expert and professor at Cornell University, explains precisely why “with the right precautions, the chances of contracting the coronavirus from a food delivery or from picking up takeout are low for most of the population.”

While many of us are turning to cook while in self-quarantine, many don’t have time. It’s safe to order takeout or get food delivered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Precautionary Steps To Take If You Are Fearful

~ Payment and tip in advance to avoid any person-to-person interaction.

~ Remove the food from the takeout bag and containers, plate the meal on your dishes.

Dispose of the packaging, etc. and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Disinfect other surfaces where you unpacked your food.

~ Let the driver leave the food at your doorstep. Then, wait until the driver is at least six feet away before picking up your bag.

~ If you’re picking up a takeout order, you want to maintain social distancing.

Cover your mouth and wash your hands right after you leave the pickup area.

And if you’re driving, it wouldn’t hurt to sanitize your steering wheel, and door handles.

Food Practices Dictated By The Department of Health and FDA

If you have worked in the food industry, you know the practices. If not, there are required safety food practices, the Department of Health, and FDA demand ALL restaurants to follow.

Each year a health inspector pays a visit to see if food establishments are following safety procedures. If they are falling short, they are written up and given time to correct them. In some cases, they are closed down. They can reopen once an inspector returns to witness the restaurant adhering to the changes needed for the safety of their customers and employees.

So, regardless of where you live, your local restaurants should be adhering to the same health standards. Whether you live in a large city with thousands of cases of COVID-19 or a town with a few, the same precautions are in place.

As Professor Allen mentioned, people will inevitably need groceries, food, and packages delivered to continue successful social distancing measures for the foreseeable future.

Most enjoy eating out and want to support their favorite local restaurants during this difficult time. Check to see if they have a system to order directly from them, as opposed to through a delivery service.

Third-Party Apps Policies

For example:

UberEats: The food delivery app is waiving delivery fees for independent restaurants, committing 300,000 free meals for first responders and health care workers. They are providing financial assistance for up to 14 days for active drivers who get diagnosed with COVID-19 and personally placed in quarantine by a public health authority.

Instacart: According to a press release from the grocery shopping app: All in-store shoppers nationwide have access to sick pay, accrued time off if you’re absent from work due to illness or injury.

Additionally, any full-service or in-store shopper can receive payments up to 14 days if they’re diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual mandatory isolation or quarantine. But some Instacart workers organized a strike, demanding more protective materials and hazard pay.

Is Eating Takeout Safe During COVID-19?

Minimize the risk, break the chain of virus transmission, and put your mind at ease knowing you’re taking steps to protect yourself and the people around you.

Since there’s no clear answer as to when our lives will return any normalcy, continue social distancing measures. Drs. Fauci and Birx remind us, “It’s hard to see the immediate benefits of our efforts, but hopefully May will look better than April and June will look better than May.”

Until then, listen to the experts!