Aside from worrying about having enough food at home and feeling anxious about shopping in a crowded supermarket, many people have concerns about their food during the coronavirus crisis.
James Rogers is a microbiologist and director of Research and Testing for Food Safety for Consumer Reports. He answered several questions.
Is food eaten raw, like fruits and vegetables, safe?
“We don’t have information that coronaviruses can be transferred from any type of food,” Rogers said, “so people are at low risk of getting coronavirus from that type of food.”
He said to be sure to wash fruits and vegetables when you bring them home with water and brush.
Does cooking kill the corona virus?
“Yes, all the information we get about coronavirus is heat sensitive,” Rogers said. “The World Health Organization has provided information that cooking must kill the corona virus as long as you cook food at the right temperature, you should be fine.”
That’s 145 degrees for pork, roast beef, steak and fish, 160 degrees for egg dishes and 165 degrees for poultry, casseroles and leftovers.
Can you get viruses from food packaging?
“All the information we have so far about packaging shows a very low risk of transmitting the corona virus from packing food to yourself,” Rogers said.
If you are very worried, he recommends that you delete your grocery store purchases with disinfecting cloths or transfer content to a new container. Be sure to store your groceries in the designated room in your kitchen and clean them after you finish, and then wash your hands.
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How about taking food from a local restaurant? Is the collection or delivery from the restaurant safe?
According to Rogers, that.
“We truly believe that this is the least risky way for you to get food, because you can keep your social distance,” Rogers said.
If you are worried about a container to take home, he recommends moving your food to a plate, disposing of the container and washing your hands.
And now it’s important to follow food safety measures that have been recommended for years, he said. Clean the food preparation area when you are finished, prevent cross-contamination, wash your hands before and after preparing food and store it in a perishable refrigerator and food scraps. You definitely don’t want to get a foodborne illness now and have to go to the hospital.