Food specialists and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both set the record straight: it is not highly possible to get COVID-19 from food. Since the virus is a respiratory illness which is transmitted through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets, contracting COVID-19
from food or food packaging is highly unlikely. Coronaviruses also need an animal or human host to spread and cannot multiply in food.
But while there is no evidence that respiratory illnesses can be contracted through food or its packaging, there is still no harm in follow food safety
tips and knowing how to handle and consume food properly. Read on for food safety
measures you can take to keep healthy.
1. Practice proper food hygiene when preparing food.
Wash your hands before preparing your food.
Washing your hands is vital when it comes to preventing COVID-19. Before cooking or preparing your meal, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Besides your own hands, it is important to keep your cooking tools and surroundings clean, too, so frequently disinfect your kitchen and utensils. Also make sure to dispose food waste and packaging properly and to avoid a build-up of waste in your home.
When it comes to preparing uncooked meat and fish, use separate chopping boards. Wash produce such as fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water. For perishables, keep them refrigerated and check their expiration dates. Cook food for the recommended temperature and wash your hands again before eating. Lastly, always make sure to use clean utensils and plates.
2. Take necessary precautions when availing food delivery and take-outs.
Make sure to follow the protocols of contactless delivery!
Since COVID-19 is known to spread through contact, there are people who are skeptical about food deliveries. However, experts say that take-outs and interaction-less deliveries are okay as long as people practice precautions. Food delivery companies also assure the public that they practice preventive measures when it comes to the preparation and delivery of food. For instance, delivery staff are equipped with face masks and sanitizers. They are also required to disinfect delivery bags throughout the day.
Meanwhile, several restaurants have also implemented a ‘no contact’ policy when delivering. Through contactless delivery, a specific drop-off area is provided for the delivery partners where they can place the order. The delivery person will also be standing at least six feet from the pick-up spot. Cashless payment is encouraged, but if it’s unavoidable to use cash, place the amount in an envelope and leave it at the designated drop-off area. For take-outs at restaurants, practice proper social distancing with restaurant personnel and other customers.
Once you receive the food in your home, you can use gloves to open the packaging. If there are no gloves in your household, make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds before and after unpacking the food. Moreover, place the delivery bags and containers in the sink rather than on the table and transfer your food to a plate. Properly discard all boxes, containers, and delivery bags in the trash or recycle. If you have leftovers, store them in your own food containers rather than the takeout containers.
There have been no cases of COVID-19 from take-out containers and deliveries to date, but experts said that there can be risks of contamination. The risk can be lessened by taking precautions such as washing your hands after touching the packaging. Also, throw or recycle the packaging materials after using and disinfect all surfaces where the packaging was placed.
4. Thoroughly disinfect fresh produce.
Soaking your fruits and veggies is recommended.
Unlike canned goods, fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables are not recommended to be disinfected with alcohol, wipes, or chlorine. The main reason is that the chemicals in disinfectant items are not safe for human consumption and could be toxic once digested. Alcohols and soaps are for washing hands; water is enough for produce.
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that produce can be disinfected by rinsing them under running water before eating. Just washing produce in water is found to remove 90% of contamination. Another recommendation is to soak your fruits and vegetables in water to wash out potential contamination. According to the CDC, cooking vegetables is enough to take care of the virus. Fruits with peel such as bananas are also recommended to be washed since the peel could contaminate your hands.
In this time of a global pandemic, just practicing proper safety measures when it comes to buying and preparing food can help in flattening the curve.