Since coronavirus has started to spread in the U.S., many restaurants have closed their doors to dine-in customers, shifting to delivery and takeout only. Is it safe to eat a meal handled by cooks and delivery people? Is it safe to go to the grocery store? There are a lot of food questions surrounding COVID-19, so we checked in with the expert sources to determine the answers.
Although health officials are still learning about the transmission of the coronavirus, there is no evidence that it can spread from an infected person through food they have handled or prepared, according to Harvard Health. That said, coronavirus has been detected in the stool of certain people, so the possibility that someone could transmit it through food after not thoroughly washing their hands can’t be ruled out at this time. In the case of hot food, the coronavirus would likely be killed during the cooking process.
According to the FDA, there is no evidence that food or food packaging can transmit COVID-19, though it is possible that coronavirus can survive on surfaces or objects. Because the virus is spreading from person to person, the CDC recommends that if you’re sick, stay home until you’ve recovered and are no longer a risk to others. Food workers should notify their supervisor and stay home if they’re feeling ill.
The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear face masks to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should only be worn by people who show symptoms of COVID-19, in addition to health workers and people who are taking care of infected individuals.
According to Harvard Health, it’s critical to begin intensive social distancing immediately. This means that, as much as possible, you need to limit contact with people outside your household. If you need to go out for food, medication or other necessities, try to stay at least 6 feet away from others. You should also avoid touching your face and mouth, and wash your hands thoroughly when you return.
Harvard Health suggests keeping a two-week to 30-day supply of nonperishable items on hand. These products are the same things you’d purchase to prepare for a snowstorm, power outage or other type of emergency.
This includes canned meats, fruits, vegetables and soups; frozen fruits, vegetables and meat; protein or fruit bars; dry cereal, oatmeal or granola; peanut butter or nuts; pasta, bread, rice and other grains; canned beans; chicken broth; jarred pasta sauce; oil for cooking; flour; sugar; crackers; coffee, tea, shelf-stable milk and canned juices; bottled water; canned or jarred baby food and formula; pet food; and supplies like laundry detergent, dish soap and household cleaner.
Yes. Grocery delivery companies including InstaCart, Fresh Direct, Amazon Fresh and Shipt are still in service, as are the ones provided by grocery stores like Walmart and Kroger. Many also offer an option to have your order dropped off at the door. Available items and delivery windows may be limited based on demand, however.
It may seem like your options are slim, but you can make pancakes, cajun chicken sausage and rice, black bean burgers, Rice Krispie treats and other easy dishes using ingredients that you already have.
Several chain restaurants and delivery services are offering patrons free delivery during the coronavirus outbreak. That includes Chipotle, Burger King, KFC and more. Third-party companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash are nixing the fee on orders from local restaurants too. To see the full list, click here.
Jose Andres and his charity World Central Kitchen have transformed many of the chef’s New York City and Washington D.C. restaurants into community kitchens with limited takeout menus. Other famous foodies including Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Alton Brown and Michael Symon have taken to Twitter to weigh in on what to buy and how to cook it.
Pantry staples such as honey, salt, white sugar, white rice, whole grains, baking powder, dried corn, dried beans, snack cakes, instant oatmeal, potato flakes, dehydrated fruit, dried pasta and instant coffee all have surprisingly long shelf lives.
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