With all of the Greater Toronto Area in phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening, you may feel a little torn on where it is safe for you to head out to and what spots you should be avoided for now. Is it okay to head into a local coffee shop, or to your favourite Italian restaurant? Ultimately the answer to this question is up to you, and the precautions you take. But, when it comes to being exposed to the virus through foods either prepared or packaged, we have put together a guide to help shed some light on the topic.
How likely are you to get COVID-19 from food?
At this time, there has been no confirmed cased of COVID-19 spread through the consumption or handling of food. However, just because there have been no known cases transmitted through food, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. An individual can contract COVID-19 by touching an item or surface contaminated with the virus. Even though this isn’t the primary method the virus is spreading.
Precautions taken by the staff and customers play a big role in how likely it is for the virus to be spread in any establishment. It is best to keep up good hand hygiene by washing your hands with water and soap for roughly 30 seconds, multiple times a day. In many restaurants, including ours own the cleaning procedures surpass the recommended guidelines. Each table is disinfected as soon as guests leave, and items and areas that see higher traffic are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Yes, there have been recorded cases of people working in restaurants and food production facilities who have contracted COVID-19. No, there have been no cases of the virus spreading to consumers directly through food or drink.
How handle packaged food?
When unpacking groceries, or packaged food, it is best to clean the surface of packaging with either soap and water or mild disinfectants. Do not apply disinfectants designed for hard surfaces on fresh produce or food wrapped in plastic.
Bacteria grow faster in temperatures between 4°C and 60°C. So, it is best to store produce, meat, seafood, and any frozen items together and in a cooler bag, so that everything is kept cool during transportation. As well do not allow meat, poultry, or seafood that needs refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our day to day routines through a loop, and as everyone begins to move into their new normal routines, you should feel comfortable including eating out and ordering delivery or take-out to your routine. Just make sure to take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands before handling foods and before eating
- Frequently clean eating surfaces with recommended cleaning products
- Store ordered food, fresh food and any other type of food properly