Good news: With a few safety measures, you can make your food deliveries safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The FDA says that there “is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging.” (Keep in mind that new information is coming out all the time.) Think about it: If COVID-19 were being widely transmitted through food, there would be many reports of outbreak clusters linked to restaurants and food stores; instead, transmissions have clustered around person-to-person social interactions. This said, food transmission is possible—COVID-19 viral loads have been found in the gastrointestinal tract, and fecal-oral transmission is feasible. Here’s how to make your food deliveries foolproof:
Your strategy: Pretend that the chef or delivery person coughed COVID-19 droplets all over your food and packaging. Gross! Just do it. These are strange times. The coronavirus lives for 3 hours in droplets, 24 hours on paper or cardboard, and 3 days on plastic, so assume the worst.
- Order hot foods when you can. Though no studies of heat and COVID-19 have yet been released, a similar coronavirus dies at 149 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you want safety, reheatable foods are your friends.
- Have your delivery left at the door. COVID-19 is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets, so limiting contact with the deliverer is your first goal. Please leave a tip, either in a delivery app or taped to the door.
- Place the entire delivery in your sink. Do not gleefully unpack the bag onto your counters while doing the happy dance. Do not casually lean a container against your clothes while deeply inhaling the savory smells into your sinuses. Do not place the containers in your fridge. (No official word yet on whether COVID-19 survives cold temperatures.) Though you are less likely to contract COVID-19 through touching the virus and then touching your nose or mouth, it is very possible.
- Empty food containers onto plates and put containers directly in the trash. This takes practice! You want to negate the possibility of virus accidentally making its way into your kitchen via counters, clothes, utensils, and hands.
- Wash your hands and sink. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing your hands, and then scrub your sink with soap and hot water. Bonus: Your sink is really clean and pretty!
- Nuke or simmer your food. The magic number is 149 degrees Fahrenheit. This food thermometer is pretty great. Enjoy.