Worry Not About Catching COVID-19 from Food

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on August 22 some welcome news: one less thing to worry about. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling or consuming food is associated with the transmission of COVID-19. A literature review reveals zero cases of COVID-19 attributed to touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags or to the consumption of food. Likewise, while cases of COVID-19, and even substantial outbreaks, have been somewhat commonplace in food production and processing facilities across the nation, there is no evidence of COVID-19 spreading to customers via the food or packaging that infected workers have surely handled.

While it is possible that a person can contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object upon which the virus has settled (and then touching their own nose, mouth, or eyes) this is not thought to be a primary mechanism of spread. There is a possibility that a person could become infected with COVID-19 as a consequence of handling food or food packaging, or even consuming food, perhaps, but this is unlikely. To stay safe, just keep your hands clean. After shopping, handling food packages, before preparing food, and before eating food, it should be a priority to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and tepid water. While soap and water is preferred, especially before preparing or eating food, the use of a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol is a fine alternative (just be sure to keep rubbing your hands together until they have dried).

With COVID-19 era restaurant patronage, please know that curbside pickup is a lower risk activity, outdoor dining with appropriate distancing and masks at all times except when eating is a low-moderate risk activity (depending on the space and whether or not you choose to dine with individuals who live outside your household), and indoor dining is higher risk and certainly not advisable for older adults at greater risk for severe COVID-19 syndromes.