With new social distancing measures being enforced throughout the country and around the globe, many have turned to delivery services to stay at home and help flatten the curve. However, with so many questions still remaining about coronavirus (COVID-19), some have expressed concerns about coronavirus food safety and whether or not deliveries are actually a safe alternative for consumers. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, even while ordering groceries or delivery. Keep reading for six of the top coronavirus food safety tips to put into practice.
Getting Takeout or Groceries Delivered? 6 Safety Tips
If you’re getting your groceries delivered or ordering takeout, taking a few simple precautions can help keep you and those around you safe. Here are a few steps to start taking with your next delivery.
1. Opt for Contact-Free Delivery
More and more delivery services are offering contact-free delivery, which allows your driver to leave your order at a designated location to help minimize contact. This is a great option to ensure coronavirus food safety, as it reduces the risk of transmission and helps keep both you and the driver safe. If contact-free delivery isn’t an available option on the platform or website that you use, consider contacting your driver and asking if they are able to accommodate.
2. Leave Detailed Instructions
Anytime you order takeout or groceries, there is usually an option to add delivery instructions to your order. Ordinarily, this can be used to provide directions, access codes or other specific information that can help guarantee a smooth delivery. However, it can also be a great tool to ensure coronavirus food safety as well. If you are opting for contact-free delivery, be sure to instruct your driver exactly where to leave your food. If you have the option to contact your assigned driver directly, you can even send a photo of the designated location to prevent any confusion.
3. Wash Your Hands
After receiving your order, avoid touching your face and wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. According to the FDA, “there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.” However, they also note that it is possible to contract the virus after touching a surface that contains the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes, although this is not the main way that the virus is spread.
4. Remove Packaging
Because viruses can live on surfaces for several days at a time, it may be a good idea to remove packaging from food items whenever possible to prevent contamination. For takeout, you can also transfer food to your own plates or bowls and use your own utensils instead of the ones provided by the restaurant. After handling food containers and packaging, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before eating.
5. Practice Food Safety
In addition to the coronavirus food safety tips outlined above, it’s also crucial to prepare, store and handle food safely as well. Groceries should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible after delivery, which can extend their shelf-life and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, raw fruits and veggies should be rinsed prior to consumption and raw meat, seafood, poultry and eggs should be separated from other foods to prevent cross contamination. For takeout, keep in mind that leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours to ensure food safety.
6. Tip Your Driver
Unfortunately, delivery drivers don’t have the option to work from home and often rely on tips as a substantial portion of their income. Although some restaurants and grocery stores pay drivers an hourly fee, most delivery apps pay only a small base fee to drivers. If you’re ordering delivery, consider tipping your driver at least 20 percent for their service. Many apps and websites allow you to add a tip to your order directly, which can help minimize contact to keep you safe. If you do decide to add a cash tip, be sure to wash your hands after handling any bills.
When ordering groceries or takeout, practicing a few simple coronavirus food safety tips can help keep you safe.
For starters, opt for contact-free delivery whenever possible and be sure to leave detailed directions to ensure a smooth delivery.
Be sure to also avoid touching your face and wash your hands thoroughly after receiving your delivery.
Because the virus can live on surfaces for several days at a time, you may want to consider removing packaging from foods and using your own dishes and utensils whenever possible.
In addition to practicing these coronavirus food safety tips, you should also be sure to handle, store and prepare foods safely as well.
Finally, tip your delivery drivers generously. Not only do they rely on tips for their income, but they are putting themselves at risk to deliver your food and groceries.