Let’s put to rest any concerns about how COVID-19 could potentially affect the way you eat. COVID-19 is making its way across the U.S., with thousands of confirmed cases, not including the many that have yet to be tested or can’t receive access to a test. It’s critical during this time for Americans to do their best to prevent the disease from spreading so that it can be contained and eventually die off. In the interim, we know you probably have a lot of questions about ways you can avoid contracting the disease, especially through something you have to rely on everyday: Food.
1. Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted Through Food?
This information may come as somewhat of a relief: According to the European Food Safety Authority, “There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.” In addition, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland says that coronavirus needs a host, aka a human or a live animal, to grow in.
2. Should I Be Cooking For Other People?
During this time, minimizing interactions with friends and people, in general, is of the utmost importance, as COVID-19 is most transmissible through people who are in close contact with one another. According to the CDC, the disease is transmitted through respiratory droplets that are projected from an infected person’s mouth or nose either via a cough or sneeze. If you’re hosting a dinner party, and someone in the room has COVID-19 and coughs or sneezes on another guest or on their silverware, that puts everyone else in the room at high risk of contracting it.
3. Should I Be Ordering Food Deliveries?
Again, the top way for the disease to be contracted is through human contact, and it’s also believed to be spread through inanimate objects. MIT Technology Review reported that U.S. researchers found coronavirus can survive on plastic and stainless steel for as long as three days. However, microbiologist at the University of Washington School of Public Health, Marilyn Roberts told MIT, “We don’t know if you can pick up COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces or inanimate objects at this point. That’s the bottom line.” Conversely, lab findings indicate that the virus can cling to plastic cellphone cases and Amazon packages, which means it can also likely cling to the packaging of your food delivery.
4. Does Cooking Kill Any Traces Of Coronavirus On Food?
According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, “In the case of hot food, the virus would likely be killed by cooking.” Additionally, the FSAI stated that SARS, which is a strain of coronavirus, is killed through thorough cooking, specifically for 30 min at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Should I Be Concerned About Staff Handling Food Either In The Grocery Store Or In Restaurants?
The short answer to this is, yes. According to Harvard Medical School, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has also been detected in stool for some people. This being said, if the person—warning, this is gross—didn’t wash their hands properly after using the restroom and then made that sandwich in plastic wrap at the grocery store, you’re in for trouble. “We currently cannot rule out the possibility of the infection being transmitted through food by an infected person who has not thoroughly washed their hands,” said members of Harvard Health Publishing.
6. How Should I Wash Produce That Doesn’t Have A Rind, Peel, Or Skin?
The short answer? Water. Just plain old water. In an article from Best Food Facts, horticulture professors at Auburn University, Dr. Floyd Woods and Dr. Joe Kemble said, “research has shown that using just plain old water can remove 98 percent of the bacteria when it is used to rinse and soak produce. Simply washing produce will remove any bacteria or other residues on your produce.”