Is Eating Takeout Food Safe During the Coronavirus Outbreak?

While the rest of the world shuts down, the only places that remain open are restaurants – offering takeaway or delivery to the doorstep. It makes you wonder – is it safe to eat takeout food during the coronavirus outbreak? We’ve got the answer for you.

While there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19 aka Coronavirus) can be transmitted through food, if there even is a possibility that such a thing can happen, the risk is extremely low. This opinion is backed up by Angela L. Rasmussen, PhD, a virologist in the faculty of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, adding that she is not aware of any human coronaviruses that can be transmitted through food.

When food is cooked on high temperatures, the heat inactivates the virus. “Although hot food is less likely to have infectious virus present depending on the temperature of the food, risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 through eating any food is extremely low. Food is not inhaled into the respiratory tract and any virus present will likely be inactivated in the stomach,” said Rasmussen.

Although it may be hard to stomach, even the most well-prepared food, either at home or prepared by restaurants, can contain some microbes that could be potentially harmful to health, but these only rarely get us sick as people have an in-built defense against this – stomach acid. High acidity, low pH environments such as the stomach can both disrupt the envelope and degrade viral proteins and RNA that are other key components of the virus particle,” said Rasmussen.

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It is safe to say that the chances of you contracting the virus through takeout or food delivered from restaurants is low – however, the process of receiving food from the delivery guy can be a little tricky. Also, the cardboard or plastic containers in which the food is transported can be a carrier of the virus itself. Ensure that you do not have any skin contact with the delivery boy and immediately wash your hands as you come back inside the house. Remember, washing your hands is key to staying protected from the virus.

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