Food safety in the age of COVID-19

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Experts say there is no reason to believe that COVID-19 can be spread by food. That doesn't mean that you can forgo basic food safety habits, however.

Pandemic or not, you should always handle and prepare food safely. That means you should:

• Clean and disinfect countertops and other surfaces in your kitchen before and after cooking.

• Wash your hands before and after handling food, and after wiping countertops and other surfaces with chemicals.

• Wash fresh produce before eating, even if you plan to remove the skin.

• Separate raw meat, poultry and fish from other foods.

• Cook foods to the proper temperatures.

• Refrigerate leftovers within two hours—or within one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees.

When you wash your hands, use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds to be sure they're clean.

It’s best not to share your food, drinks or utensils with others.

The virus has also led to many families having their groceries delivered, and calling upon restaurants for delivery and carry-out services.

To help protect yourself and others when ordering food for takeout or delivery:

• Stay 6 feet from others whenever you can.

• If possible, pay for your food online or over the phone to help minimize contact.

• Ask the delivery person to leave your packages at the door or on the porch.

• Don't eat out of takeout containers. Serve the food on your own dishes, and use your own utensils.

• Throw away all bags and packaging, and wash your hands well after handling them.

Remember, healthy eating helps your immune system stay strong. So continue to make healthy choices about what to order and put on your plates.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

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