Is takeaway safe to eat during coronavirus lockdown?

Takeaway is the only option to eat “out” during the coronavirus lockdown, with all restaurants currently shut for business. Several formerly closed restaurants have opened their doors for delivery only to sustain their business amid the government measures, but people are naturally apprehensive about receiving delivery.

Is takeaway safe to eat during lockdown?

Takeaway is one of the few escapes people have from the coronavirus lockdown, with a host of restaurants still offering their delivery services.

Food orders have become the only viable income stream for most restaurants, so local patronisation is more vital than ever.

Currently, experts suggest there is little risk with the food itself, but transmission is possible during delivery.


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The Food Standards Agency states it is “very unlikely” people could catch COVID-19 from their food, as the virus struggles to survive in heat.

Delivery requires food packaging to exchange hands, however, and experts say the virus could survive easily on cardboard.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Professor Bill Keevil, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Southampton, said COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for one day.

He added there is still a “very low risk” with delivery, however.

He said: “Since the virus can survive for 24 hours on cardboard, and a takeaway is delivered within an hour, there would be a risk that someone handling a pizza box or takeaway packaging could potentially – and I say potentially – leave traces of the virus on there, if they were a carrier.

“Obviously, reputable food outlets are supposed to have well-documented, controlled hygiene measures.

“Ideally staff should be wearing gloves, washing hands, being sent home if they’re displaying symptoms – so in my view, at the moment, it’s a very low risk.

“It may be that those handling food for others should wear face masks as well as gloves as a reasonable precaution – as long as it is a good quality, appropriate, protective face mask.”

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“If you’re really concerned, my recommendation would be to dispose of the packaging safely and not come into unnecessary contact, and to wash your hands immediately.”

Although the associated risk with delivery is low, organisations have taken steps to reduce the chance of infection.

Companies such as Deliveroo have introduced contactless delivery, which sees drivers drop off the food on people’s doorsteps for customers to pick up.

The contactless method means potential carriers cannot spread COVID-19 via proximity.

Deliveroo was amongst the first to introduce the method, which they announced via email to their customers.

Since they did so last month, several other companies have followed suit.

They include Uber Eats, Domino’s and Just Eat, among others.

Supermarkets are yet to introduce contactless delivery, but several other non-food companies have also chosen to do so.

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