Cooking skills and delivery apps are being put to the test as Americans switch between their only two options to have a meal.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the country, many people are taking additional precautions to avoid contracting the virus when it comes to eating take-out and handling groceries.
But what are the best food safety practices to adopt these days without jeopardizing the convenience of delivery?
“Delivery is still safe right now,” Martin Wiedmann, food safety professor at Cornell University, told USA TODAY. “The most important thing is to stay away from people.”
Services like UberEats, Door Dash and Postmates are offering no contact-delivery to its users, where meals are left on doorsteps, rather than handed to the customer.
Uber is also recommending its users wash their hands after receiving an order.
For groceries, Walmart is now allowing customers to make a purchase, pick up an order and get a delivery with no contact required. Instacart also said it would distribute health and safety supplies to its full-service workers who gather food and other essentials at supermarkets, then drop them off at customers’ homes.
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Once you receive a take-out order, bags should be kept on the floor and away from tables, according to Wiedmann. “After receiving an order, wash your hands, dispose of all packages, and then wash your hands again,” he says.
People have also started wiping containers as an extra precaution to prevent contracting the virus.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to wipe down those packages,” says food safety expert Benjamin Chapman, a professor at North Carolina State University. “There’s no evidence that food packaging is a risk factor for getting COVID-19.”
When it comes to groceries, washing produce with soap or other chemicals is not recommended. According to Wiedmann, other health issues could arise from that practice.
“Coronavirus is not a food-borne illness, but there are other organisms that cause food-borne illnesses,” Wiedmann says. “The last thing you want people to do right now is let their guard down and not practice other food safety measures.”