How to Safely Enjoy Takeout During Coronavirus

You don't have to give up your weekly Netflix and pizza tradition! Just take these steps to nix germs when enjoying carryout food.

Confession: The only thing getting me through these weeks of quarantine, homeschool and constant uncertainty is our Friday night tradition of Netflix and carryout. When I stopped to consider if enjoying our favorite healthy fast food every week was a safe choice for our family, I was afraid of the answer. Sure, I can handle the ramifications of a global pandemic but if you’re telling me I have to do that without our weekly deep-dish pizza, I might lose it. Fortunately, it seems there are safe ways to enjoy takeout during this time. (Speaking of, this serving tray is perfect for preventing person-to-person contact when sharing a pizza.)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no evidence to suggest that we can contract COVID-19 from food. While the virus can live on surfaces like countertops and food wrappers, the food itself should be safe to eat. Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) believe that the novel coronavirus cannot withstand normal cooking temperatures. This means that cooking food at home or buying hot carryout food should not put you at risk for the virus.

Now that we know our food is safe, let’s take measures to reduce our contact with the containers and other people to keep everyone safer.

Choose No-Contact Pickup or Delivery

Whether you’re picking up your dinner or having it delivered, ask your local restaurant about the option of a no-contact transfer. This keeps both you and the restaurant workers safer by minimizing the chance for physical contact.

Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is the No. 1 public health recommendation for a reason. Simple soap and water should be enough to kill any coronavirus germs on your hands, so start the preparation process with a thorough wash. This will hopefully prevent any germs you picked up throughout the day from getting you sick.

Transfer to Clean Plates

Rather than eating your meal from the original container, transfer the food to your own dishes. This is also a great practice when preparing meal delivery service dishes, as well. Then, make sure to wash your hands again before you eat.

Microwave Until Steaming

Because it seems coronavirus cannot withstand heat, microwave your carryout food until steaming. Then wash your hands again and relax!

And as delicious as they are, this isn’t the season for carryout California sushi rolls or cold sandwiches. Experts don’t know of any COVID-19 cases coming from food, but choosing hot dishes over cold is an extra precaution to keep you and your family safer.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.