Hank Investigates: How to safely handle take out food deliveries

Food delivery is becoming a way of life for many people at home, and the lifeline for many businesses and employees. Experts say it’s pretty safe if you know how to handle it. Hank Phillippi Ryan has more.

Experts say the key to safe food delivery is to minimize contact with the delivery person as well as the bag and container the food comes in.

So pay by credit card on the phone or through an app

And ask the driver to leave the bag outside your door.

“Can you pick up the bag?” Hank Phillippi Ryan asked.

“Remember the virus is not going to go through the skin of your hands. The problem is when it gets on your hands and touch your face, you touch your mouth, or you touch your nose, and you’re getting the virus,” Dr. Michael Knight, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Patient Safety Officer at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates said.

Dr. Knight recommends taking the food out of the bag, and then throw the bag away, then wash your hands.

“Have one area on your countertop to place it and when you’re done you throw that packaging into the garbage and wipe down the countertop with a disinfectant,” Knight said.

With a utensil, Dr. Knight says, take the food from the container, throw away that container, and then wash that utensil.

“As long as it’s not being transferred from packaging material from your hands from a contaminated countertop into your mouth, into your nose, or to your eyes, you’re not at risk of getting that virus,” Knight said.

If you want to share food: take precautions, and don’t move food from plate to plate.

“If you want to share with your family use a new fresh utensil to take the food out of that plate and to serve it to your family members on their plates,” Knight said.

The strict rules for food preparation at a restaurant remain in effect, washing hands, wearing gloves, temperature guidelines still apply, but there are no special health guidelines on delivery people. Bags are often stapled shut by the restaurants to keep the food protected.

“The evidence so far has not shown that the actual virus can live on food,” Knight said.

If you want leftovers, or have ordered extra, Knight recommends transferring the food to your own container before putting it away. You never want to keep anything that came from the restaurant in your house.

The key is if you touch something from the outside wash your hands if something from outside toches a surface in your home disinfect that surface.

For more safe food handling information check out the CDC’s recommendations. 

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