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With the COVID19 pandemic,many restaurants are only open for delivery and to-go orders.
Many are concerned about the safety of their food and the packaging, and may ask,
Can I get COVID-19 from takeout?"
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants are only open for delivery and to-go
orders, in order to remain open during the shut-down. However, many are concerned
about the safety of takeout, delivery, or drive through foods and their packaging,
and may be asking if we can get COVID-19 from takeout.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, currently there is no evidence
of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.
Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A, that
often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19,
is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not
known to be a route of transmission. Few viruses can survive basic food safety measures,
and even fewer can endure the acid in the human digestive system.
This virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes between
people who are in close contact with one another, within about 6 feet, and through
respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets
can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into
The likelihood of an infected person contaminating food is low and the risk of catching
the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, shipped, and exposed
to different conditions and temperature is also low.
Continue to consistently use social distancing when ordering takeout food and delivery
by reducing any physical contact with delivery drivers or take-out restaurant workers.
There may be several ways to manage and minimize risk. If you are using takeout, food
delivery services, or even drive-through options, choose those that offer no-touch/no-interaction
options to lower your risk. Ask delivery services if they will leave food at your
doorstep, put food directly in your car trunk for you, or try setting up a table by
the front door. Once the driver is more than 6 feet away you can open the door and
get your order. It’s ok to ask your restaurant or delivery service what precautions
they are implementing.
Once you have your order, what are your precautions now? Can there be potential risks
associated with the food packaging, boxes, or bags it was transported in? While it
has been reported that the virus can likely last 24 hours on paper and cardboard,
and three days on plastic and other hard surfaces, there has still been no evidence
that food or food packaging is a route of transmission for COVID-19.
There is nothing wrong with taking the ready to eat food out of the container it came
in and putting it on your own dishes. When you do that, it is a good idea to dispose
of those containers immediately in an outside receptacle, in order to avoid cross-contamination.
Remember to wipe down surfaces the containers were on and wash your hands after you
have touched the containers and cleaned and sanitized the surface.
Remember, handwashing does work well to kill the virus. Wash your hands with soap
and water for at least 20 seconds. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent
the spread of COVID-19.
So, to answer the original question of, “Can I get COVID-19 from takeout?” I hope
you now have the answer according to research based information, health and food safety
specialists, and the US FDA. The answer is no.
In these unprecedented times, choose where you get your information carefully and
look for research-based organizations. For more information on COVID-19 and protecting
yourself, check out the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture at www.uaex.uada.edu/covid-19 to find research based information you can trust.
You can also contact me at the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609. We're
online at email@example.com, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS
or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
Research for this article was adapted from several sites: https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus; https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses; https://www.uaex.uada.edu/life-skills-wellness/health/docs/Is%20COVID-19%20a%20Food%20Safety%20Issue_.pdf; https://extension.uga.edu/story.html?storyid=8294&story=Takeout-Safer
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.