How to stay safe when handling food, packaging and home deliveries
Gulf Today: How much of a risk does packaging pose?
According to the World Health Organisation, the risk of catching the virus that causes Covid-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also very low.
Should you clean your food and/or packaging?
Despite the low risk of contamination, if you feel particularly anxious about the possibility of the virus spreading on food packaging you can use antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray before storing them away in your cupboards or fridge.
What precautions should you take at the supermarket?
Visiting supermarkets does pose some risk as you are mixing with other members of the public.
In this case, it is important to adhere to the government’s guidelines on social distancing by ensuring that you keep at least two metres from others.
This advice applies to both inside the store and in the external public area where you may need to queue.
How safe are home deliveries?
Home delivery is considered to be less risky than a trip to a supermarket as you will avoid coming into contact with other shoppers.
A number of supermarkets are now also offering contactless deliveries — meaning your shopping is left in a safe place, such as your doorstep, for you to collect once the delivery person has left.
Is it safe to order takeaways?
While restaurants have been ordered to shut during lockdown, food deliveries and takeaways are still allowed. The government has reminded outlets to adhere to prescribed practices, which includes guidelines on stressing the importance of employees frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, washing their hands and practicing good hygiene in food preparation and handling areas.
These procedures should mean that there is minimal risk from a freshly cooked takeaway meal.
For those concerned about takeaway packaging, Professor Bloomfield advises “emptying the contents (into a clean dish), disposing of the packaging into a refuse bag and washing your hands thoroughly before you eat.”
“Take food out of a container with a spoon and eat it with a knife and fork — not your fingers,” she adds.
A number of delivery services now also offer contactless delivery which removes the need for direct contact for both parties.