Food Delivery Safety: Health Experts Weigh In

Since the start of the pandemic, many habitual restaurant goers have decided that this is the perfect time to learn how to cook. While some have remained committed to buying fresh ingredients and preparing their own meals every night, others have conceded that ordering takeout is quite a bit easier.

Restaurant owners have been quick to adapt to this new reality. The results of a recent survey shared by Olymel Food Services shows that since the start of the crisis, 1 out of 2 restaurants have set up delivery or takeout services. However, this raises health concerns: is food delivery safe? According to medical experts, the answer is yes.

Cooking, delivery, and transmission risks

Restaurant food is touched and handled by countless strangers before it makes its way to the takeout box and is ultimately delivered. Any one of those people could be infected with COVID-19. Is it safe to order delivery from your favorite restaurants?

Most experts agree that ordering food from a restaurant is actually 100% safe. The World Health Organization states that the coronoavirus can’t be transferred through food that was prepared by an infected person — COVID-19 transmitted through person-to-person contact and through direct contact with respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In short, even if the food is contaminated, the virus never makes contact with your mucous membranes, which is where infection takes place.

And what about food packaging? It’s not likely that you’ll get infected by touching the packaging, but it’s not impossible, as the virus as been shown to live on surfaces like plastic and cardboard. To minimize the risk of contamination, wash your hands frequently and throw away the packaging as soon as possible.

Even raw foods like sushi pose no greater risk to your health than any other food. You can continue enjoying your favorite raw dishes through no-contact pick-up. As with cooked food, the sushi doesn’t make contact with your mucous membranes, so there’s no chance of infection.

What about ordering from the drive-thru?

Ordering delivery is generally safe, but going through the drive-thru is a little different. To purchase your food, you have to make direct contact with multiple employees. You might be sitting a few feet away in your vehicle, but that doesn’t mean you’re fully protected.

Making direct contact with another person always poses a risk. Since fast food restaurants experience high volumes of customers, the employees could have interacted with dozens of potentially infected people before serving you. If you do choose to go to a drive-thru, wear a face mask and wash your hands afterward.

How can you keep yourself safe?

While ordering delivery is generally safe, there are a few precautions you can take to protect yourself and your family. If you make contact with the delivery person, wear a mask and gloves and dispose of the gloves afterward. Get the food on a plate as soon as possible and throw away the packaging, then wash your hands. Opt for no-contact delivery, if possible.

These simple steps can create a safer environment for both you and your family members.