I ordered a takeaway at weekend – but was it safe to do so?


Adding to the long list of queries at this uncertain time. 

We all like a takeaway every now and then, don't we? Perhaps the temptation to order is a little more emphatic now too.

When the lockdown staple meals of beans on toast and cheesy pasta get a bit monotonous, it's nice to let someone else do the cooking for once and we have such a wide variety of takeaways, food delivery services and cuisines to choose from across Greater Manchester.

With the boredom of self-isolation only heightening how much time we actually spend thinking about our next meal, many Brits up and down the country will have ordered a takeaway over the weekend, but was that really a safe option?

Does the food stand any chance of transmitting the virus? What about the packaging? Are we putting delivery drivers at unnecessary risk?

The subject of takeaways comes with a multitude of questions attached, just as everything else seems to at this uncertain time, but we want to offer a bit of clarity here.

Food experts have spoken out about the safety of takeaways during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and this is what they said.


Is the food safe to eat?

As a rule, freshly heated and cooked food from a takeaway should be fine, but cold food is best avoided, according to Sally Bloomfield, Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who spoke on this topic to Huffington Post UK.

She states: “You just don’t know who’s been handling it".

"They might have good hand hygiene, but they may not know they’re infected, so for your own safety I would stick to freshly-cooked food".

She also adds that you should pay attention to reputable food hygiene ratings of any establishment you order from.

James Sutton

Is delivery safe? What about packaging and recycling?

Even if you haven't ordered a takeaway recently, you'll still have most likely heard the extra precautions being taken by restaurants and food delivery services to ensure your food arrives on your doorstep in the safest way possible.

These include online and phone orders only and 'contact-free' delivery.

Once again according to Sally Bloomfield, the best cause of action to take upon receiving your takeaway is to take the bag immediately into the kitchen, open up the packaging and, without touching the food, transfer your meal onto plates.

You should then immediately throw away the packaging, recycling is not advised and thoroughly wash your hands.


What about delivery drivers?

The question of whether or not it's even ethically correct to be ordering a takeaway is also something to keep in mind.

When we're all being asked by the government to stay home, protect our NHS and save lives, is it really right to be ordering from a takeaway, which thus brings someone else out of their house, to deliver food which isn't entirely necessary?

There's two ways to look at this.

Speaking to Huffington Post UK, Professor Andrew Smith, an expert in consumer behaviour at Nottingham University Business School said: “You’re keeping someone in a job, but you might be putting them at risk".

“You will reduce your visits to food shops [though], meaning less social contact".


Whilst we haven't been able to entirely answer all questions you may have on this topic, we hope we have at least shed some light and given you food for thought.


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