Is it safe to eat at the drive-through or get take-out food during a pandemic?
There does not appear to be any evidence that food or food packaging can transmit the COVID-19 virus. At this time, the biggest infection risk appears to be from person-to-person transmission. Food businesses should enforce work procedures that keep their employees safe and healthy. Food service employees who have symptoms of illness should not be at work. Drive-through and meal delivery programs seem to offer the best options for maintaining social distancing and reducing contact between food preparers and customers.
Remember to disinfect your credit card when it is returned to you, before you stick it back in your wallet. It is unlikely, according to current understanding, that the coronavirus can survive long on food packaging. It also appears to be unlikely for the virus to survive in prepared foods. However it is always wise to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching food packaging materials and before eating.
In deciding whether you will risk acquiring coronavirus from drive-through or take-out meals, you will also want to consider how important it is to support local small businesses. Many employees in fast food restaurants need the income their job provides.
For further information on the safety of prepared foods, please download this PDF: https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Takeout_COVID-19_Flyer_032320.pdf.
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