Tips for food safety as delivery, takeout meals increase amid coronavirus

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Indoor dining at your favorite restaurant is off the table, and now some are questioning takeout meals due to concerns associated with coronvirus.

“We’ve been through floods,” said Glyn Jones of Reuben’s New York Deli. “We’ve been through snowstorms. We’ve been through hurricanes. Those last a couple of days, maybe a week at most but this is unprecedented for us.”

Like many restaurant owners across the country, Glyn Jones is fighting to keep the doors open at his downtown deli.

“With the order that guests can’t dine in, we’ve focused on our takeout and third-party delivery,” said Jones.

While at-home delivery is nothing new, apps like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash have flooded the market and many people are asking if they’re safe to use.

“There are risks in all of the things we do,” said North Carolina State University food safety specialist Ben Chapman. “Carryout and takeout food is the least risky way to get restaurant food in this current situation.”

Chapman says food, and food packaging, have not been identified as transmitters of COVID-19 but he says you need to protect yourself and your delivery driver.

“Make sure you’re not adding to transmission by making them opening your door, or touching your doorbell, make sure you limit that touchless interaction,” said Chapman.

Chapman says he views delivery services as being a safer option than going to the grocery store, but even takeout is at risk as states push mandatory stay-at-home orders.

“The biggest risk in food safety is that we don’t eat at all,” said Chapman. “We won’t last long, and that’s the alternative.”

“I think things are going to change permanently to some extent,” said Jones. “I don’t know what that is, but we’ll try our best to learn the good lessons learned from this and move forward from there.”

One helpful tip to avoid foodborne bacteria is keeping your refrigerator set below 41, and when reheating food make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

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