A question or concern that crosses every mind during a state of pandemic or flu is that of whether they should be eating out or not. And for some of us, an even bigger concern is of takeout food because we rely on it more than others. Is it safe to order food during such times? In this article, we talk about the impact of takeout food on lives and businesses worldwide and aim to answer all your queries regarding the same.
What is Takeout Food?
A takeout refers to the meals prepared and purchased at different food outlets or restaurants. They are usually meant to be eaten elsewhere and is a fairly common aspect in countries worldwide. It is also known by other names such as take-away, parcel, grab-n-go, and to-go among others.
There can be a specific restaurant that only serves takeout orders, but it’s mostly a common feature found in every restaurant these days. It usually works both ways, for the customer and the business, as the operator saves on cutlery and servers, and the customers can eat wherever they want to and get their food quickly instead of waiting in long lines to be served.
Eating Takeout Food During A Pandemic
Now coming to the most important question, whether it is safe or not to eat takeout food during a pandemic like situation. To answer that, Don Schaffner, professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey said, “I know people are worried, but from what we know currently about the virus (COVID-19), it’s safe to eat food prepared at restaurants so long as you take the proper precautions — in particular, hand-washing”. 
With the spread of coronavirus taking the center stage all over the world, it is becoming essentially important to maintain proper hygiene and distancing standards. With this in view, researchers say that eating restaurant prepared meals is not a bad option. Food and Drug Administration or FDA says that no evidence as of now shows food produced in restaurants can cause COVID-19. However, there are certain things you can do for yourself to maintain your safety. Let’s take a look at them below.  
Guidelines for Safety
Following is a list of tips for food delivery safety, as per the CDC. 
- Opt for contactless delivery and do not ask for utensils.
- There is double packaging on every deliverable food item. After your delivery carrier has gone, you can remove the outermost layer of your delivery bag and throw it and carry just the containers with you inside the house.
- Wash your hands before you touch the food.
- Transfer the food from the delivery containers to your household utensils.
- You can also reheat the food at 165 degrees F to kill any pathogens (this is just an extra precaution).
- After transferring the food to your dishware, wash your hands again.
- Discard the packaging in a dustbin.
- Wash your dishes properly and clean off the area where you had eaten or transferred your takeout food.
If you are going out to get your takeout food, it is a good idea to use a cashless mode of payment and avoid direct handoffs. After bringing the food home, follow the above guidelines for safety. You can also call the food delivery customer care to ask about the safety standards followed by them while cooking and packaging. Stay safe and take the right precautions, as advised by the experts.
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov.
Get the latest research from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus.