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A Virginia Tech food safety expert says there is a very low COVID-19 risk from any food you order on line for delivery to your home – or from its packaging. Joell Eifert says the greater health risk is leaving any delivered food outside for more than 20 minutes. She spoke with WLNI’s Evan Jones:

04-08 Food Safety Wrap-WLNI


VT NEWS RELEASE: The reliance on take-out and food delivery are increasing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, while the food supply is safe, there are ways to emphasize food safety from these sources.

“The FDA has stated that the U.S. food supply remains safe for both people and animals. There is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” said Joell Eifert, director of the Food Innovations Program in the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology and Extension Specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

However, there are some simple practices you can do to further emphasize food safety. Receiving and delivery practices should minimize human to human contact which can include:

Pre-pay for your order before delivery to avoid sharing pens or payment equipment.

The food industry is dedicated to making sure food, food establishments, and food manufacturing facilities remain safe and do not contribute to the current outbreak. The most effective tools against the COVID-19 virus are already being used by these food producers and are basics for food safety, Eifert said.

“Practices already in place include handwashing, ensuring that ill workers are sent home, following standard operating procedures for making a safe quality food product, avoiding situations that allow cross-contamination and following sound cleaning and sanitation practices,” Eifert said. “These practices are not new to food establishments and are providing to be sound practices to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 to employees as well as customers.”

Eifert said that measures taken by food manufacturers are:

The Virginia Cooperative Extension has a vast library of resources on food safety and a full list of publications on food safety in a variety of environments can be found here.

About Eifert

Eifert has over 20 years of food science experience within the industrial, regulatory and academic sectors.  Her career in academia has been spent predominantly in an Extension and Outreach role with her most recent position is as the Director of the Food Innovations Program within the Department of Food Science and Technology. The Food Innovations Program goal is to provide the technical assistance needed for the food processing industry to produce high quality, safe, and innovative food products. One of the program’s main missions is to increase the awareness of Virginia’s food producers to matters of food safety, pertinent food regulations and general concerns associated with starting a food business. More here.