Can COVID-19 Spread Through Food Preparation?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, many people are concerned about the various ways the virus can spread. One question that often arises is whether COVID-19 can spread through food preparation. This is a valid concern, especially for those who frequently order takeout or drive-thru meals. In this article, we will delve into the research and expert opinions on this topic to provide a comprehensive answer.

Can COVID-19 Spread Through Food?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging. The primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is person-to-person, typically via respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking. However, it’s always a good idea to practice good food safety habits.

What About Food Handlers Infected with COVID-19?

Even if a food handler is infected with COVID-19, it is highly unlikely that the virus will be transmitted through the food they prepare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk of getting COVID-19 from food handled by an infected person is extremely low. This is because the virus is killed by cooking and does not thrive in food. However, it’s crucial for food handlers to follow proper hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing and avoiding work when sick.

Is Takeout or Drive-Thru Food Safe?

Yes, takeout and drive-thru food are generally safe. The FDA has stated that there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, it’s a good idea to wash your hands after handling food packaging and before eating. If you’re particularly concerned, you can also transfer the food to your own dishes and dispose of the packaging.

What Precautions Should I Take?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food or food packaging.

  • Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes.

  • Practice social distancing when picking up food from a restaurant or drive-thru.

  • If possible, opt for contactless delivery or pickup options.

In conclusion, while it’s natural to worry about all potential sources of COVID-19 transmission, current research suggests that the risk of contracting the virus through food or food preparation is extremely low. Nonetheless, practicing good hygiene and food safety habits is always beneficial for your overall health.