Can your takeout take YOU out?
As more people work from home and self-quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic — and as fistfights break out over canned tuna at the grocery store — takeout delivery is starting to look pretty appealing.
But is it safe to order from your favorite restaurant, or should you stick to your stockpile of rice and beans?
First, some good news: It’s hard to get the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus through an order of chicken and broccoli.
“The risk of contracting coronavirus through food has been, and is, extremely small,” says Martin Wiedmann, a professor of food safety in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University.
But what about all the hand contact involved in delivery? Passing off tips, toting food through vehicles, all those containers?
Experts and restaurants assure us that if everyone in the food chain takes common-sense precautions, the coronavirus won’t spread through delivery — whether it’s from your favorite Thai place or grocery delivery, such as InstaCart or Amazon Prime.
“Personally, I won’t make any changes with how I receive food. If I order a pizza, I’m not going to leave the pizza box outside and bring the pizza in with my hands,” says Wiedmann. “Am I going to wash my hands before I eat pizza with my hands? Yes.”
Of course, you can’t know for a fact that everyone is scrubbing their hands. But local spots are ramping up their usual “Employees must wash hands” policy.
Westville, a veggie-centric resto with three NYC locations, is having all of their staff wash their hands “every 30 minutes” according to a recent e-mail.
Some delivery platforms are starting to do contact-free delivery — dropping food at your doorstep so there’s no change of hands. Grubhub, which owns Seamless, and InstaCart have both implemented these policies. A rep from Grubhub says they have also “provided drivers and restaurants with the CDC’s recommendations that focus on good hygiene.”
Juice Press — which already requires smoothie makers to wear gloves — says, “We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting our stores . . . and surfaces” in an e-mail.
In the coming weeks, can we expect to see harsher measures, like those taking place in China? There, deliverers for McDonald’s, Starbucks and other chains have been required to carry cards displaying their temperatures and the temperatures of the people who prepped the food to prove their health. This is in addition to protocols around disinfecting delivery bags.
Wiedmann doesn’t think it will get that bad here. He says “social distancing in a reasonable way,” and “not sneezing on other people” are far more important risk-mitigating factors than handing off a tip (and please, make it a generous one) to your delivery guy.
“Even if I stay in my house and lock myself in, and eat no food, my risk of acquiring coronavirus is not zero,” says Wiedmann. “But my risk of dying of starvation is extremely high.”
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
Source: Read Full Article