Food safety has always been an important part of meal preparations—it keeps food clean and safe for those who eat it. And now that we are dealing with a public health emergency that is the COVID-19 pandemic, food safety has never been more important. After all, no one should risk getting sick when a deadly virus—that has claimed lives of thousand of individuals and infected millions around the world—is looming around.
Luckily, health experts from organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have released some tips on how to make sure your food is safe to eat amid the pandemic. (Read: Here’s why you should dry your hands with paper towels instead of automatic hand dryers)
Here are some of the ways you can ensure your food is safe, clean, and virus-free.
Wash your hands
This has been told to us over and over again ever since the start of the pandemic, and it’s because it’s the best way to protect yourself from any illness. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling any food, especially after going to the grocery. Ensure that all surfaces where food will be place and equipment that will be used for cooking and eating are cleaned and washed as well.
Under certain experimental conditions, SARS-COV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can stay on surfaces such as plastics and cardboards—two of the most common food packagings. Which is why it is important to disinfect packaging using alcohol and tissue before opening. And while there is still no evidence that the virus can stay and grow on food, it is best to wash it as well before cooking. (Read: Can you get coronavirus from packaged shipments?)
Separate raw and cooked food
Raw food, specifically its juices, may contain microorganisms that could cause foodborne illnesses. Which is why raw food—seafood, poultry, meats—must be separated from cooked food. Utensils, knives, and other equipment used for raw food should be different from the ones used for cooked food as well. (Read: Healthier food options? We asked Chef Sau del Rosario for tips!)
You may check out the World Health Organization’s manual on food safety to know more.