Ever since the lockdown began to control the spread of coronavirus, everyday life has become more complicated. The daily question of what to eat has added on a new, more complicated layer – is it safe to order-in food?
Since the reality of the coronavirus pandemic has settled in for most Indians, they have become extra cautious about personal hygiene to ward off the virus. But ordering food delivery would involve a number of strangers, from the preparation of the food to its delivery to your house.
First the good news. There is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through the food itself. That means you also don’t have to worry too much about a sick cook transmitting it to you via your food. While that is particularly true for cooked foods, ordering cold foods like a salad can still be a bit risky.
However, this does not mean that you do not need precautions while ordering food. Most of the risk while ordering food comes from the deliverers themselves as they are much more likely to be exposed because of all the people they encounter.
So here are some safety tips you must follow if you decide delivery is the way to go:
Order from Trusted Eateries
Now is not the time to experiment. Opt for your favourite, trusted restaurants to calm your safety concerns. Do not order from a place that had below standard food or resulted in you being sick before. Big restaurants would also have a set of guidelines up on their website, showcasing the measures they have taken to ensure cleanliness during the pandemic.
Leave delivery instructions
Whenever you order take-out online, you’ll see an empty field titled “delivery instructions.” You can ask the delivery person to drop off food at the door and can also send them a photo of where the food should be left. It is also advisable to hang a carry bag outside the main door of your house so that the delivery person can leave the food in it.
It is best that if you are ordering food online to make electronic payments to remove the need to interact with the deliverer. In case there isn’t an option to make an electronic, one can leave the cash in the carry bag outside before the food arrives. Several restaurants and food delivery chains have also launched systems for no-contact delivery and have listed the steps on their websites and apps.
Transfer Food and Wash Your Hands
While there is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted through the food itself, the virus is known to live on different surfaces for up to nine days and can be a potential source of infection. So it is best to immediately transfer the food from the containers used by the restaurant into your own utensils.
The most important step is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face after bringing your food or grocery delivery inside.
Heat the Food for 2 Minutes
According to the Center For Food Safety at the University of Georgia, the virus is very sensitive to cooking; and the heat used to cook the food would be enough to kill the virus. But since the food could have been exposed to the outside while travelling, it’s a good idea to play safe and heat the food again in a pan or in a microwave so that you can enjoy it without worrying.
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