How Safe Is Take-Out In A COVID-19 World?

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ENDWELL, NY (WSKG) – Restaurants across the Southern Tier, and New York State, have moved to take-out only last month to limit the spread of COVID-19.

It has left some customers to wonder about the safety of the food they are consuming.

“The consensus at the moment is that you are unlikely to be infected – even if it has coronavirus on it,” said Colin Parish, Professor of Virology at Cornell University*. 

Photo courtesy Ed Wesoloski

Parish said the coronavirus is contracted through the respiratory tract and not through the stomach or intestines. That’s because cooking food at a high temperature makes the virus fall apart.  Even if COVID-19 gets on the food during prep, it will most likely be destroyed in the stomach.

Meanwhile, restaurants are stepping up sanitizing efforts, keeping appropriate distance apart and keeping sick employees home.

Ed Wesoloski is a partner at Remlik’s Grille & Oyster Bar in Binghamton. He said keeping a clean kitchen is always important, but his staff has been taking extra precautions everywhere else. 

“So where everything would be wiped down, now it’s probably just ten times as much,” Wesoloski said. “Going so far as to use a sterilizer on pens and just everything that people are going to touch.”

Those cautious measures should continue even once the customer has the food. Parish said people are more likely to pick the virus up from food packaging and containers, then touching their face.

He said you should wipe down food containers before eating and, of course, wash your hands with soap and water.

Full disclosure: Cornell University is a WSKG Underwriter.