The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives – including the simple act of food sharing, and people are wary of getting the virus through the food we had delivered or through the food we bought in the supermarket. Some even go as far as bleaching their fruits and vegetables just to be sure.
But don’t fret because a professor from Department Food Science at Cornell University, Elizabeth A. Bihn, said that it is generally safe to share food right now. She said that the risk of transmitting or getting the coronavirus from food packaging is shallow.
With this, you might want to send your close friend a homemade meal or swap some food with your neighbor or bake a birthday cake for your immunocompromised sister – all these are possible as long as you exercise extra precaution.
We’ve also seen the rise to online stores selling food and other stuff in the midst of this pandemic. If you happen to be selling food or baked goodies or the one receiving end, we have some safety tips for you to follow:
1. Follow the Four Core Safety Food Practices Strictly
Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill – these are the four core safety food practices that you have been practicing even before this pandemic, but be more mindful this time. If you are not following this strictly before, then follow these practices diligently now.
When preparing food, always make sure that your hands are clean. Always disinfect and clean the surfaces where you prepare your food as well. Prepare food separately, especially when you are preparing raw food. This is to avoid cross-contamination. When cooking food, ensure that you are always cooking at appropriate temperatures. When storing, keep them in your fridge. But check from time to time if the food is still in good condition. Some food still gets spoiled, even if they are refrigerated.
There is also no need to wear a mask while preparing the food, but if this gives you peace of mind, feel free to do so. By following the precautions mentioned above, you won’t have to worry about infecting other people.
2. Ask About Allergies Ahead of Time
Before sending in food to someone, first, ask if they are allergic to anything. Now is a terrible time to be admitted to an emergency room because of allergic reactions. There are higher chances you can get the virus there rather than from the food packaging given to you.
Remember, no raw milk cheese for pregnant women and no honey for kids younger than one. When you are unsure, make it a habit to confirm with them before sending in your food package.
3. Don’t Wash Fruits and Vegetables with Soap or Bleach
We know you are way off the virus, but washing fruits and vegetables with soap or bleach can cause people to be sick. It is safer to wash them with plenty of running water.
4. Practice Contactless Delivery
Since the coronavirus is mainly transferred through droplets, then the more significant risk is during the delivery. When you deliver food, make sure you don’t have any symptoms of the virus. And even if you don’t have any symptoms you should still practice contactless delivery.
Don’t forget to wear a mask as well. Place the food safely, say six feet or more away, from the one who will pick it up.
If you are the one who will receive the food, pick up the delivery from the location where it was left. Place the delivery container on the top of a spacious container. Transfer the food to your container (bowl or plate), and wash or dispose of the delivery containers. If the containers are reusable, you can wash it with hot, soapy water.
Don’t forget to clean your hands before enjoying the food.
5. Don’t Stress Out Too Much
Stressing out on these things can more likely weaken your immune system. Remember that getting and transmitting the virus from the food and its packaging is less likely, but it is always better to approach things with extra precaution.
Despite the current situation, people will always find a way to show their love and care to people they love. As we try to adjust to the “new normal,” we have to exercise extra precautions, so we don’t harm others.
Whether preparing food for yourself or your loved ones, always remember that practicing good and proper hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid getting the virus.