Food Safety: A Comprehensive Guide

The virus on food products

Viruses require a host cell to replicate, which means that the virus will not multiply on your food. The same as with other surfaces, the viral load on your food will decrease with time.


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything


Food Safety: A Comprehensive Guide

Food Safety: A Comprehensive Guide


Key Ideas

What we know

The virus that is causing the current outbreak is a respiratory one and spreads through droplet infection.

  • There have been no known cases of the virus spreading through "smear" infection, like a touchscreen ATM, or a subway turnstile.
  • Currently, the CDC reports no fecal-oral transmission of the new virus, but the possibility is not ruled out.
  • There is strong evidence to suggest that food is not a vector - the spread pattern of the virus does not fit models of foodborne outbreaks.

Contaminated surfaces

  • The virus can be detected in aerosols (airborne droplets smaller than five micrometers) for up to three hours.
  • On copper, for up to four hours.
  • On cardboard, for up to 24 hours.
  • On stainless steel or plastic, for up to three days.

The virus particles on any surface decrease rapidly at the start, then slowly approaches zero over time.

Touching or eating contaminated food

If a food worker coughs over your food while preparing it, although really gross, your risk of contracting the disease that way is minimal.

According to a 2018 overview of respiratory viruses, the virus reproduces along the respiratory tract. It is a different pathway than the digestive tract food follows when you swallow it.

Even if you handle contaminated food and then deposit the virus along your respiratory tract, it's highly unlikely to get sick this way.

Reheating food

If you're still concerned, reheating food before eating can destroy the virus.

Scientists suggest a temperature of 149°F (65°C) for at least 3 minutes is sufficient. For foods such as a chicken breast, steak, or a loaf of bread, it is unlikely that any viral load will have penetrated past an uncut surface.

The virus on food products

Viruses require a host cell to replicate, which means that the virus will not multiply on your food. The same as with other surfaces, the viral load on your food will decrease with time.

Food hoarding

The initial panic and hoarding behavior has caused short-term shortages at food stores, but there are currently no long-term issues with food supplies.

However, we don't know yet what the long-term effects of the outbreak will be on farms as it relates to the spread among seasonal workers or the trucking and shipping industry.

Antibacterial soap

There is no advantage to using antibacterial soap because the new virus is caused by a virus, not a bacterium.
Any soap can be used as soap is a surfactant that neutralizes the virus.

Precautions for food-related businesses

Safety for staff.

  • Staff should keep a six feet distance between themselves at all times.
  • Encourage your staff to take the epidemic seriously.
  • Hold meetings remotely when possible.
  • Create systems for a contact-free exchange of necessary documents, food, and equipment.
  • Prop open any doors that are regularly accessed.
  • Ensure that handwashing stations, in particular, are well-maintained.
  • Provide hand-sanitizing stations to non-kitchen workers.

Safety for customers and the community:

  • Transition to take-out only service.
  • Remove all physical menus and payment points.
  • Switch to no-contact payment methods.
  • Offer contact-free door opening if possible.
  • Offer contact-free pickup.
  • Remove anything that may result in more than one customer touching the same surface.

Restaurant - creative revenue ideas

No small business owner wants to see their employees suffer.

  • Guarantee jobs for all furloughed employees as soon as you can rehire them.
  • Facilitate the transition to unemployment benefits.
  • Directly assist employees who may be struggling to make ends meet.
  • Sell gift cards redeemable when you eventually reopen that will give customers an additional 10% value when redeemed.
  • Many are finding ways to best use their facilities to prepare and get food to those in need.



Spreading respiratory viruses

Our hands are the front lines in the war against the new virus.
Respiratory viruses (the new virus, the flu, and the common cold)  can be spread via our hands: We can pick up dro...

Prevention is essential
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Contact a health worker if you have symptoms; fever and a dry cough are most common.
  • Don't touch your face.
  • Don't travel if you have a fever and cough.
The top way to clean our hands

Washing your hands with soap and water is the top way to clean our hands. If soap is not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help.
When you wash your hands with soap and water, you’re wiping viruses off your hands and sending them down the drain. The whole process is actually annihilating the viruses, rendering them harmless.

one more idea

The worst enemy of the virus
The worst enemy of the virus

Even though a vaccine for the new virus is at least a year away, we all a way to fight the virus in our own homes: soap and water.
The soaps we use contain a class of compounds called surfac...

Washing our hands the right way

Hand-washing is one of the best ways to protect against the new virus. But it has to be done the right way.
You have to scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. And make sure you cover all the important parts: palms, wrinkles, fingernails, between fingers, under rings, bandaids, or splints you may have on an injured finger.

Soap vs. hand sanitizer

Destroying the structure of viruses and other contaminations with soap and water is different than using disinfectants and sanitizers, which are designed to kill germs but not remove them from your skin.

Outbreak terms
  • Endemic is a disease that regularly infects humans, like the flu.
  • Pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. 
  • Epidemic
Public health measures
  • Social distancing is a slew of tactics meant to keep people at a six feet distance from each other to keep droplets from an infected person's nose or mouth from landing on another person.
  • Quarantine is restricting the movement of, or isolating, people who might have been exposed to an infection but who aren't sick.
  • Isolation is separating people with confirmed or probable infections from other healthy people.
  • Lockdown is a term used by public health officials or lawyers to refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantine to non-mandatory recommendations to shelter in place, to anything in between.
  • Cordon sanitaire is the restriction of movement in and out of a region or city.
  • Shelter in place is an order requesting people to stay at home, except for trips to the grocery store, pharmacies, and other essential errands.
Medical equipment
  • A ventilator is a machine that assists a patient in breathing when they have trouble breathing on their own.
  • PPE (Personal protective equipment), such as masks, gloves, face shields, and other gear that keeps health care workers from catching an infection.
  • A respirator is a face mask that seals around the mouth and filters out particles from the air before they are breathed in.
  • Surgical mask or face mask are loose-fitting masks that don't filter out all the particles but stop a wearer from spreading droplets of contagion when they sneeze or cough.

one more idea