How to safely buy food, order food delivery and takeout during a pandemic

During the quarantine, authorities are recommended to stick to just the “Essentials” and to get out of the house “only in cases of extreme need,” writes the BBC. The government also advises on the possibility of “use of service”. But how to do it safely?

Как безопасно покупать продукты, заказывать еду с доставкой и на вынос во время пандемии

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Risks in store

Coronavirus is spread by coughing and sneezing of a sick person. Tiny drops of saliva and mucus into the air and on surfaces and can cause infection if someone inhales them or touches objects.

So a trip to the supermarket or shop where you are close to many people already associated with the risk.

Social distancing of at least 2 meters is important. Therefore, many stores limit the number of people inside and require customers to respect the distance.

According to Professor Sally Bloomfield of the London school of hygiene and tropical medicine, supermarkets are the “perfect medium” for the transmission of the virus.

“A lot of people touch the surfaces and things in the supermarket conveyor belt at the checkout, credit cards, buttons, vending machines and ATMs, paper checks and so on. Not to mention the fact that you are around other people”.

How to reduce these risks:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or treat them with a disinfectant based on alcohol before and after purchases.
  • Touching surfaces, grocery carts, baskets, containers and other products, avoid touching the face.
  • Use contactless payment methods.


Evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted through food, no. In addition, accurate preparation and processing of food kills the virus.

However, the main problem is the packaging, which concerns a large number of people.

“The products in the containers or the packages or need to survive for 72 hours before use, or wipe with bleach solution or alcohol,” says Professor Bloomfield.

“Unpackaged fresh food, such as fruits and vegetables, wash thoroughly under running water and leave to dry,” adds the scientist.

Safe food delivery?

Food delivery is safer than a trip to the store, because this way you can avoid contact with people. The only risk is the possible contamination of packages.

Expert on food safety and blogger Dr. Lisa Ackerly offers to leave on the front door a note asking the courier to call and move a few steps back.

“Wiping surfaces with ordinary household bleach, diluted as directed on the package, eliminates the virus within one minute,” notes Dr. James hill from the medical school of Warwick.

“The deli food is as safe as and ask to buy the products of a friend or volunteer,” adds Professor Alison Sinclair, a virologist from the University of Sussex.

Some experts also suggest the use of disposable plastic bags during the pandemic.

And the takeaway?

Many local restaurants have converted their business to go. Known network and distinguished restaurants are trying to adhere to strict rules of hygiene. So the take-away freshly prepared dish should be safe.

To reduce the risk of contamination of the package, immediately put the dish in clean utensils, says Professor Bloomfield.

“Tara discard in garbage bag and wash hands thoroughly before eating, adds the expert. — Remove food from the container with a spoon, and eat it with a knife and fork — not fingers.”

In the present circumstances it is better to order hot, freshly prepared foods than cold and raw ingredients.

Agency food standards emphasizes that “there is no reason to avoid the delivery of prepared food if it was packaged right.”

If you are at risk or want to be extra cautious, you can still additionally thermally processing the meals.

“Pizza, for example, you can put a few minutes in the microwave,” adds Professor Bloomfield.



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