Your Questions About Food and Coronavirus Answered

Microbiologist and Director of Food Safety Research and Testing for Consumer Reports James Rogers outlines food safety amid the pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

In addition to worrying about having enough food in the house and feeling anxious about shopping in crowded supermarkets, a lot of people have concerns about their food during the coronavirus crisis. 

James Rogers is a microbiologist and the director of Food Safety Research and Testing for Consumer Reports. He answered some questions. 

Are foods eaten raw, like fruits and vegetables, safe? 

"We have no information that coronavirus can be transferred from any type of food," Rogers said, "so people are at a low risk of getting coronavirus from those types of foods."

He said to be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables when you bring them home with water and a scrub brush. 

Does cooking kill the coronavirus? 

"Yes, all of the information we have gotten about coronavirus shows it is sensitive to heat," Rogers said. "The World Health Organization has provided information that cooking should kill coronavirus as long as you are cooking food at proper temperatures, you should be ok."

That's 145 degrees for pork, beef roasts, steaks and fish, 160 degrees for egg dishes and 165 degrees for poultry, casseroles and leftovers. 

Can you get the virus from food packaging?

"All of the information we have so far on packaging shows a very low risk of transmitting coronavirus from food packing to yourself," Rogers said. 

If you are particularly worried, he suggests you wipe down your grocery store purchases with a disinfecting wipe or transfer the contents to a new container. Be sure to keep your groceries to a designated space in your kitchen and wipe it down when you're done, and then wash your hands. 

This week's restaurant roundup includes a big perk for Amazon Prime customers, a new burger spot opening in the city and some cake-style mini-doughnuts at the Natick Mall.

What about grabbing food from a local restaurant? Is take-out or delivery from restaurants safe?

According to Rogers, it is. 

"We actually believe that this is the least risky way for you to obtain food, because you are able to maintain social distancing," Rogers said. 

If you're concerned about take-out containers, he recommends transferring your food to a plate, throwing the container out and washing your hands. 

And right now it's important to follow the food safety steps that have been recommended for years, he said. Wipe down food prep areas when you're done, prevent cross-contamination, wash your hands before and after preparing food and refrigerate perishables and leftovers. You definitely don't want to get a foodborne illness right now and have to go to the hospital. 

Contact Us