We run to the supermarket, pick out the fresh produce and canned goods we need for the next few days, and we’re all set. Then, we just have to repeat the process every week or as needed. Simple, right?
For some people, it might be. But for others? Not so much. Think of all the frontline workers who have to continue their daily grind. A lot of us here know full well that it’s sometimes easier to buy takeout meals than cook your own food at home after a hard day’s work.
Now, assuming you have to resort to takeout food for whatever reason, how do you ensure safety in the midst of a virus outbreak? We looked around for some tips and found some articles from BBC News and The Washington Post which we have summarized here. Read on if you want to know more. Do take note that these tips apply whether you’re the one picking up the food from the store yourself or you’re having your meal delivered to your doorstep.
1) Stick to the restaurants and food establishments you’re familiar with.
As a rule of thumb, you should just buy from food joints you frequent. Now is probably not the best time to try out new things. Well, unless all the places you regularly buy from are closed, that is.
2) Transfer your food to a clean container or dish using your own utensils.
As soon as you get home or your food is delivered, you should quickly transfer the food to a clean dish using your own clean utensils. If you’re being extra cautious, you can even use plastic gloves when doing this. Afterwards, just remember to immediately throw the bag and container the food came with or wash them thoroughly for reuse.
3) Disinfect all the surfaces that the food’s packaging materials came in contact with.
Let’s be realistic: you need to put your takeout food down first before you can transfer it. That means the bags or containers from where you bought your food came in contact with some surfaces inside your home—surfaces which you need to disinfect immediately once you’re done with the second step on this list.
4) Wash your hands.
You’ve thrown away or cleaned the food’s original packaging materials and you’ve disinfected your table already, but you’re not out of the woods yet. Before taking your first bite, you should wash your hands first. It’s a no-brainer, but we’re including it here anyway just in case some of you might forget.
5) Reheat the food before eating. (Optional)
This last one is optional—not everyone has a microwave or proper cooking utensils at home. But if you have the luxury to, then it’s best to heat your food before digging in. Assuming you won’t burn anything—the food or your hands—in the process, then this won’t do you any harm.
Do you have any other tips for ensuring safety when ordering cooked meals? Share them in the comments. While you’re at it, you can also check out some of our stories on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis here.