Across the country and around the world, people are stocking up on groceries including nonperishable food like pasta and canned goods, frozen fruits and vegetables, and lots and lots of toilet paper due to coronavirus concerns. But what happens if you're cooking dinner and realize you forgot an ingredient? Or what if you want to forgo cooking one night and order takeout? Is it safe to order—and receive—food deliveries? Experts say yes.
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Dr. Ian Williams, chief of the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that the virus cannot be transmitted through food. "There is no evidence out there that, so far with [COVID-19], that it's foodborne-driven or food service-driven," Williams said in a statement.
The CDC announced earlier this week that they believe coronavirus does not live on surfaces for more than 24 hours. Experts say that the chances of contracting coronavirus by touching the same grocery bag, styrofoam container, or pizza box that a delivery worker handled is very, very low. Food service and delivery works have also been exercising their best practices when it comes to sanitization, so it's also unlikely that you could catch coronavirus from a brief interaction with them.
If you do eat food that contains the virus (another unlikely scenario), your digestive system would essentially flush out the virus because there's nowhere for it to cling to. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to take proper precautions—wash your hands for twenty seconds thoroughly, wear gloves while holding food packaging, and avoid cash transactions.
As for grocery shopping, experts say with dozens of people being in the store at one time, it's harder to control the virus from potentially spreading. If you're sick or have been in close contact with someone who is sick, experts advise that you stay home altogether to avoid spreading germs. If you're healthy and choose to shop at a grocery store, thoroughly wipe down the cart or basket using an antibacterial wipe, wear latex gloves when handling food, and wash your hands as soon as you get home.