LOS ANGELES, CA — A University of Southern California professor of molecular microbiology and immunology offered reassurances Friday that it is safe to eat takeout food from restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, measures people can take measures to eliminate any possibility of infection, she said.
The likelihood that food would arrive on your doorstep contaminated with the new coronavirus is already very low, said Paula Cannon of USC's Keck Medicine School. But to take it a step further, people can use time, heat and sterilization to ensure takeout food is safe, she said.
"Restaurant kitchens can be one of the safest places in this coronavirus outbreak because they already practice strict hygiene protocols to avoid foodborne illness," Cannon said. "Owners are taking this extremely seriously and monitoring their staff for symptoms and encouraging the strictest adherence to all food hygiene procedures."
Cannon said it is "relatively unlikely" that a sick person would be preparing takeout food and it is "extraordinarily unlikely" that the employee would physically cough on a customer's food.
But she said the public can easily add safeguards:
Rewarm food after bringing it home, or make sure it's hot.
Purchase food to eat the next day and store the food in the refrigerator or freezer, because time — along with heat — can help kill the virus.
Remove food into a separate container and then wash your hands before eating.
City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.