Since the coronavirus outbreak, governments forced us to stay inside and minimize human contacts. While we are stuck at home, lazy cooks are typing and wondering: Is it safe to eat takeout food? Am I safe if I order food from restaurants?
The answer is yes, eating takeout food is still a good idea (for the moment). Due to these fearful times, many of us want to know safety information about that. Let’s get you some before you’re forced to watch Netflix with a can of sad beans.
Are food-couriers protected from Covid-19?
Despite online orders can be our lifeline in those hard times, someone else has to step into the breach for us. Delivery workers are experiencing a unique challenge in travelling between restaurants and people’s houses. However, the risk can increase due to the daily interactions they have with people, especially those resulting positive for the coronavirus.
Luckily, in the wake of the pandemic period, delivery companies and apps took essential actions to protect their heroes-employees. As an example, Uber Eats and Just Eat, which are being bought by Takeaway.com, provides financial assistance to drivers and delivery people who may be infected or exposed to the virus for up to 14 days.
On March 18th Deliveroo followed the same path. Due to restriction measures, it asked all restaurant partners to introduce contact-free pick up with Deliveroo riders. Basically couriers will respect your choice to not be in direct contact with them if you require though.
Which are the Food Delivery platforms working during Coronavirus?
If you are concerned whether food apps are still working or not, hang in there. Here are some platforms currently operating in the Algarve region, some of them are offering special discounts you can’t miss:
- UberEats delivers in Faro, Olhão, Loulé, Quarteira, Portimão, Lagos, and Albufeira and you can get €5 off for your first order with the code
- Glovo allows you to order from restaurants, florists, pharmacies, wine shops, and Ikea. Besides it mainly operates in biggest cities they offer €8 free credit with the code 1715VDE via this link.
- Comidas.pt covers Faro and cities nearby. There is such a lot of choice, from Portuguese to Indian food.
- Gato Gordo includes a variety of food choices as well and it delivers specialities from your beloved Algarve restaurants to your home.
- In for a sushi night? Sushi & Go sends its products especially in the city of Portimão (Algarve)
- If you live in Tavira, Easy Eat delights your quarantine by bringing your favourite food without moving from home. You just need to choose, they will take care of the rest!
How to minimize the risks?
Despite ordering food looks could make your anxiety worse, we take a load off our mind with some truthful news.
Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, there is little evidence to support the coronavirus transmission through food or food packaging.
Whenever you order take-out or groceries online, you may see an empty field titled “delivery instructions.” Accordingly, you can write there to drop off food at the door or send a photo of where the food should be left.
When it comes to cooked foods, we might fear to take the virus from the chef cooking our meal. Luckily, an epidemiologist from Columbia University, Stephen Morse, granted that “cooked foods are unlikely to be contaminated, even if the person preparing it is sick.” As long as the food is handled properly, he said, “there should be very little risk.”
However, if you order cold food, like a salad, this might carry some risks if the chef sneezed on it. If still worried, it’s time to familiarize with the Algarve Health Administration and the Portugese Food and Economy Security website. Check how they are managing food-handling practices of your favourite restaurants nearby!
Food containers: myths to dispel
When it comes to food containers you’re probably thinking: what if an infected delivery person coughs or sneezes on your food containers?
Chrysan Cronin, american professor of Public Health at Muhlenberg College, suggests that contamination happens if you touch these droplets with your hands and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
To play it safe, washing your hands properly straight after touching the packaging will avoid any risk of COVID-infection.
The World Health Organization released 5 key principles of food hygiene during quarantine:
- Keep your hands, kitchen and utensils clean
- Separate raw and cooked food, especially raw meat and fresh produce
- Cook your food thoroughly
- Keep your food at safe temperatures, either below 5 °C or above 60 °C; and
- Use safe water and raw material.
Well, you should always wash your hands before you eat, but it’s especially important now.
What about hot vs cold food? There is no proof that choosing hot takeout or delivery foods over cold ones will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. That’s why it’s highly recommended to make sure your restaurant is following the required safety guidelines.
When you’re heating your meal you may happily think if you are killing the virus underneath.
Unfortunately, the professor Cronin confirms no existing evidence for that. Despite studies on previous virus like SARS proved to be destroyed at 149 degrees for 3 minutes, the Coronavirus has yielded no similar results.
To conclude, the riskiest part of takeout or delivery food regards the person-to-person contact. In the light of this, despite it might look impolite, make sure to keep your six-feet distance from your delivery person.
If you are craving pizza or sushi, don’t be so scared. Go right ahead, grab your food but don’t forget to wash your hands!