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Restaurant Take-Out Food Safety Tips during COVID-19

Restaurant Take-Out Food Safety Tips during COVID-19

After reviewing countless articles from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration)the National Restaurant AssociationSerious EatsForbes, and CNet, I have curated a list of tips to help you safely enjoy take-out from your favorite local restaurants. 

According to the CDC and the USDA, currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or with food packaging. However, it is important now more than ever to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before and after consuming any foods. Additionally, you can utilize the tips below to ensure that you are enjoying your restaurant take-out food in the safest manner.

Tip  #1

 a close up of a person using a laptop computer

Always place your order and pay for your food online. If online ordering is not available, order on the phone and ask to pay via credit card on the phone. This will minimize any human contact and will keep you from sanitizing your credit card later.

Tip  #2

food cooking in a skillet

Avoid ordering cold food for pick up. Hot food is the way to go as it minimizes the risk of COVID-19 transfer. Let’s say a chef at your favorite local restaurant is infected and coughs on a salad and a steak – (which would hopefully never happen in Houston because restaurants are required to practice superior ServSafe techniques and are following guidelines of the NRA to send any sick employees home). The virus is more likely to stay on the salad because the steak will be cooked. According to Serious Eats, temperatures and times for coronavirus are not yet fully researched, but scientists suggest a temperature of 149°F (65°C) for at least 3 minutes. Therefore, hot food is the way to go!

Tip #3

a sign on a wooden table

Pick-up and Curbside are NOT the same things. Pick-up requires you to go inside of the restaurant establishment to retrieve your food. This increases the human to human interaction. Ask your restaurant if they are offering curbside pickup and always opt for that option. Almost all restaurants are offering this option and are either asking for the make, model and color of your car or requesting you give them a call when you are have arrived at the restaurant. If you are utilizing a delivery service like UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, etc. ask for a no-touch delivery.

Tip #4

a plastic container filled with different types of food on a table

Sanitize your counters and have dishes ready to transfer your to-go food into. Recycle the bags and containers your food came in and properly sanitize the area that your to-go bags and containers touched. Wash your hands thoroughly after transferring your food. Go the extra mile by reheating to-go food in your microwave or stovetop for 90 seconds to ensure you remove any traces of COVID-19.

These are just some of the tips you can follow when dining out during this pandemic. Remember that a lot of these restaurants are family-owned businesses that are struggling to make ends meet. By supporting them now and practicing the safety tips that I mentioned above you are fulfilling your cravings, doing good for your local community and doing it all with your safety as a top priority.

Questions, comments, or additional tips? Leave a comment or send me an email at I want to hear from you and pass the tips along!

Stay safe, stay humble.