While some of us would want to stick to our home and not dine at restaurants, it may not be possible for some to give up eating out right now. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a coronavirus pandemic?
Can you get the coronavirus by eating food prepared outside? Here’s what food safety experts say
- The COVID-19, which has killed at least 4,923 lives across 116 countries and territories
- Dining out may not be on the menu for many as the fears of contracting the novel coronavirus continue to grow
- Yet, not everyone is ready to give up or avoid eating out just yet. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a pandemic?
New Delhi: For many people, dining out may not be on the menu for now as the fears of contracting the novel coronavirus continue to grow. Perhaps, now that the COVID-19, which has killed at least 4,923 lives across 116 countries and territories, has been officially classified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), a lot of people would be hesitant to venture out of their homes.
While some of us would want to stick to our home-cooked meals and not dine at restaurants, it may not be possible for some to give up eating out right now. In fact, not everyone is ready to give up or avoid eating out just yet. But, is it safe to dine out in the event of a pandemic?
Can you get the COVID-19 through food?
Some health experts said that dining out should not be a cause for concern as long as you take precautions and practice good hygiene such as keeping your hands clean with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, not coming into contact with those who are unwell, etc.
“As things stand today, based on the information we have from the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) and information from local and state public health officials, I don’t see any basis for recommendations that people not dine out,” Benjamin Chapman, food safety expert and a professor at North Carolina State University, told the USA Today.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, experience with SARS and MERS suggests that people are not infected with the virus through food. So, it is unlikely the virus is passed on through food, and there is no evidence yet of this happening with the COVID-19 to date.
Craig Hedberg, a University of Minnesota professor and an expert on food-borne illness, added that there’s no evidence that the illness is transmitted through food.
That said, let us be absolutely clear about one thing – the novel coronavirus is a newly identified virus and scientists are still learning about the nature of this virus, including its transmission. The virus is known to spread via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Also, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been detected in the stool of certain patients, noted a report in the Harvard Health Publishing.
So, it would be difficult to rule out the possibility of the infection being spread through food by an infected person who has not washed hands thoroughly or followed hygiene guidelines. And if you’re not sure whether it’s safe to dine out at this point of time, you would want to stick to your homemade food. Also, keep yourself updated with the latest information on coronavirus disease from your local or state health authorities. With the virus spreading rapidly across the globe, citizens have been asked to take precautions, including good hygiene and self-quarantining – if you think you may have been exposed to the virus.