Food is not just fuel, it’s comfort. Somehow we instinctively feel it’s important to eat yummy food when we’re stuck at home during the circuit breaker.
If you need a break from cooking, you can still get food deliveries from restaurants or ‘da bao’ meals from hawker stalls and eateries. These options are great ways to help keep your favourite food places alive and they bring a variety to your Stay@Home snacks.
But if you order dishes from outside, you’re smart to take extra measures to protect your family against the spread of Covid-19 virus.
Because while there’s no evidence the virus can live in cooked food, the packaging may be another story. A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found the virus can survive in the air and on some surfaces, for this long:
- In the air — 3 hours
- On copper — 4 hours
- On cardboard — 24 hours
- On stainless steel — 48 hours
- On plastic — 72 hours
“If you’re touching items someone else has recently handled, be aware they could be contaminated, and wash your hands,” explain James Lloyd-Smith, a co-author of the study and a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.
With these new findings in mind, follow these hygiene and safety tips when you order takeaway:
1. Bring your own clean food container if you visit an eatery to pick up your da bao or takeaway orders.
You know it’s been washed, plus you help reduce single-use plastic waste. Taking your own container is great for the planet at any time, but it’s especially practical now. Some suppliers of food containers are nervous about keeping up with increased demand during the month-long circuit breaker in Singapore.
2. Avoid meal deliveries if you or any family members are sick.
Or everyone is more at risk of infection. Even if you’re a kitchen newbie, you can cook winning dishes at home. Why not order one of these essential cookbooks for people living in SG?
3. Get your meal delivered – to outside your door.
Good: You don’t touch public surfaces like restaurant tables and door handles. For added safety, most delivery drivers in Singapore will now leave takeaway food deliveries outside the door and call you to let you know your food has arrived.
Not-so-good: You need to plan ahead as most restaurants need at least three hours notice now, for home delivery. Here are great places to try.
4. Wash your hands immediately after you pay and pick up your food.
And avoid touching your face before you wash your hands. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface. If you have no access to soap and water, use hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol.
Don’t forget to wash your hands after your meal, too!
5. Transfer food to your own clean dishes and cutlery to serve and eat.
By Tara Barker, Text adapted from The Singapore Women’s Weekly, April 2020