A USC professor is offering reassurance to the public about the safety of takeout food during the coronavirus crisis.
"Restaurant kitchens can be one of the safest places in this coronavirus outbreak because they already practice strict hygiene protocols to avoid foodborne illness," said Paula Cannon, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Keck Medicine School of USC.
"Owners are taking this extremely seriously and monitoring their staff for symptoms and encouraging the strictest adherence to all food hygiene procedures."
Cannon noted that it was "relatively unlikely" that a sick person would be preparing take-out food and that she thought it was "extraordinarily unlikely" that the employee would then physically cough on a customer's food.
But she added that the public can easily add on safeguards including:
- rewarming food after bringing it home or making sure that it's hot;
- purchase food to eat the next day and store the food in the refrigerator or freezer because time — along with heat — can help kill the virus; and
- remove food into a separate container and then wash your hands before eating.