How to ensure safe food delivery in lockdown
Avoid food poisoning or wastage in lockdown with these food safety tips.
Holed up at home, Victorians are dialling in delivered feasts and weekly groceries as never before. And we’re cooking up a storm of Good Samaritan meals to drop off to vulnerable neighbours or family members.
But while ordering in and feeding friends in need are undoubtedly signs of the times, food-safety experts warn it’s important to take care that we’re not unwittingly dishing up a side of danger with dinner.
“We are eating more home-delivered food in these times, whether it is online grocery deliveries or take-away from your favourite restaurant, but there are a few important steps to take to safeguard yourself,” says Lydia Buchtmann of the Food Safety Information Council.
She says there is no evidence that coronavirus is transferred by food packaging with either groceries or home-delivered meals. “But as with everything at present, you must take precautions and wash your hands after handling the delivery,” she says.
Firstly, if a home-delivered meal is intended to be eaten hot, she says it’s important to make sure it is hot when it arrives at your doorstep. Or, if you’ve ordered meat, dairy or other groceries that need refrigeration or freezing, ensure the delivery isn’t left more than an hour at your front door.
Lydia warns to be particularly wary of ordering in meals from backyard cooks spruiking home deliveries via social media. While their low prices might be tempting, she says there is no guarantee that the food has been prepared according to minimum hygiene or other food-safety requirements that apply to licensed food sellers. “Buy your take-away from a local restaurant or food outlet that is licensed,” she says.
A rare silver lining of the COVID-19 crisis is that more people are looking out for elderly neighbours, offering to pick up groceries or dropping off meals. But Lydia says it’s important to pay extra attention to food safety when preparing or delivering meals for older people and other vulnerable community members.