Wondering if it is safe to eat takeout during the Coronavirus? Consumer Reports wrote up a nice summary of food concerns in Common Questions about Coronavirus and the Food You Eat.

Highlights from the article:

  • “The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the World Health Organization all say that food is not known to be a route of transmission of the virus. And the information available from outbreaks of SARS and MERS, caused by coronaviruses similar to the one that causes COVID-19, is reassuring. According to the WHO, the evidence showed that those illnesses were not transmitted by food.”
  • You should still practice food safety, including washing your hands, disinfecting kitchen surfaces, and washing produce (just water and maybe a brush).
  • Coronaviruses don’t multiply on food the way bacteria does. Viruses require a living host to grow.
  • “The virus is likely susceptible to normal cooking temperatures, according to the WHO.”
  • Dr. Benjamin Chapman, a professor and food safety expert at North Carolina State University sees takeout food as a good alternative. “The biggest risk factor for the disease is interacting closely with other people, and contactless delivery eliminates that.”
  • Normal food safety standards that restaurants are required to follow should prevent coronavirus from getting into your food.
  • The risk of contamination from food packaging is low. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on March 17 found the virus remained on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for less than 24 hours. They also found the virus degrades very quickly. The concentration of the virus drops in half on stainless steel after 6 hours, on plastic after 7 hours, and on cardboard after 3 hours.