Is It Safe to Order Take-Out?

Is It Safe to Order Take-Out?

Given that eating at home these days is de rigueur, Telluride Inside…and Out thought this story from NPR titled “How Safe Is It To Eat Takeout?” might be worth a read.

Don Schaffner had Thai takeout for dinner a few nights ago, just as he did occasionally in the weeks and months before the current COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s worth knowing. Schaffner is a distinguished professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey whose expertise includes quantitative microbial risk assessment, predictive food microbiology, hand-washing and cross-contamination.

“I know people are worried, but from what we know currently about the virus, it’s safe to eat food prepared at restaurants so long as you take the proper precautions — in particular hand-washing,” says Schaffner.

As the coronavirus spreads in the U.S. and Americans heed directives to stay home, takeout and delivery of prepared food is picking up. Yet in these fearful times, many of us are wondering if eating takeout is a good idea. (Plus shouldn’t we be cooking all those groceries we stocked up on?)

Luckily for lazy cooks, eating food prepared in restaurants appears to be a safe choice. Current guidance from the Food and Drug Administration states that “there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19.”

Infectious disease and food safety experts we spoke to say they base their determination that takeout food is safe on decades of research on other coronaviruses, which were first identified in humans in the 1960s.

“While COVID-19 is new to us, coronaviruses are not, and with all the studies done on these viruses, there has never been any information to implicate food-borne transmission,” says Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine in the department of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn…

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