Order take-out but do it safely, Rutgers food safety expert says
We are all being denied diner and restaurant visits because of Gov. Phil Murphy's public health emergency executive order, which only permits eateries to serve drive-thru and take-out.
Donald Schaffner, a food safety expert and professor at the Rutgers University Department of Food Science, said take-out food remains safe but he urges some caution.
Have food deliveries left on your porch or doorstep: "If the food is being delivered to you, I suggest that you have the delivery person leave the food on your porch and then step away, and then you can step in and pick it up. Again, practice 6-foot social distancing that we are all trying to do."
Keep it touch-free: "If there is a way that you can do the transaction touch-free, like giving a credit card number over the phone, that's a best practice as well."
Careful with the packaging: Some people are also expressing concern that the outside packaging might be contaminated.
"Let's say the delivery driver has COVID-19 and they cough or they sneeze on the outside of the bag. My advice to people there is, after you bring the bag in the house, you can take the food out of the bag, dispose of the bag, and then, as you should do every time that you sit down to eat, certainly in these times of heightened concern, wash your hands, and/or use hand sanitizer."
Use utensils: Avoid contamination through your hands by using chopsticks or a fork and knife.
He says right now, restaurant kitchen workers are keenly aware of the need for food safety.
Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5 news.