The risk of getting COVID-19 from food, treated drinking water, or food packaging is very low
The risk of getting COVID-19 from food you cook yourself or from handling and consuming food from restaurants and takeout or drive-thru meals is thought to be very low. Currently, there is no evidence that food is associated with spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
The risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be very low. Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where infection was thought to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags.
Although some people who work in food production and processing facilities have gotten COVID-19, there is no evidence of the virus spreading to consumers through the food or packaging that workers in these facilities may have handled.
General Food Safety in the Kitchen
Is proper food safety practices observed when handling food?
Is proper food safety practices observed before handling food?
Is proper food safety practices observed during preparation of food?
Is proper food safety practices observed after preparation of food?
Is proper food safety practices observed when eating?
Is the treated water safe to drink?
Is the kitchen facility regularly cleaned and disinfected?
If someone in your home is sick, do you clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces daily such as handles, kitchen countertops, faucets, light switches, and doorknobs?
Everyday Handling of Packed Food and Fresh Produce
When unpacking groceries, are meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables refrigerated within 2 hours of purchasing?
Do NOT use disinfectants designed for hard surfaces, such as bleach or ammonia, on food packaged in cardboard or plastic wrap.
Are instructions followed when washing and drying reusable cloth bags on the warmest appropriate setting?
Do NOT wash produce with soap, bleach, sanitizer, alcohol, disinfectant or any other chemical.
Are fresh fruits and vegetables gently washed under cold, running tap water?
Are uncut firm produce scrubbed (e.g., potatoes, cucumbers, melons) with a clean brush?
Bulk Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Purchasing and Handling
Harmful bacteria grow fastest between 41°F and 140°F. If you are picking up a meat, poultry or seafood order, do you bring a cooler and ice packs to keep food at 41°F or colder during transit?
Never allow meat, poultry or seafood that requires refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Never allow meat, poultry, or seafood that requires refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than one hour if the air temperature is above 90°F.
Once you arrive home, are meat, poultry, and seafood items prepared immediately or put in the refrigerator or freezer for safe storage?
In case of leaks in the packaging, bring a secondary container or place cases of meat, poultry, or seafood in an area of your vehicle that can be easily clean and sanitized. If leaks occur, thoroughly wash the surface with hot, soapy water or a bleach solution after it comes in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood, or its juices.
Handling Meat from Wild Animals
Do not harvest animals that appear sick or are found dead.
Keep game meat clean and cool the meat down as soon as possible after harvesting the animal.
Avoid cutting through the backbone and spinal tissues and do not eat the brains of any wild animal.
When handling and cleaning game:
Wear rubber or disposable gloves.
Do not eat, drink, or smoke.
When finished handling and cleaning game:
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that were in contact with game meat with soap and water and then you may choose to disinfect further. While these recommendations apply to general food safety practices, if you are concerned about COVID-19, you may use a product on the EPA list of disinfectantsexternal icon for use against the COVID-19 virus.
Cook all game meat thoroughly (to an internal temperature of 165°F or higher).
Raw wild meat or uncooked dishes containing the blood of wild animals should not be eaten, as such practices place people at high risk of contracting many types of infections.
Check with your state wildlife agency regarding any testing requirements for other diseases and for any specific instructions regarding preparing, transporting, and consuming game meat.
COVID-19 and Nutrition for Health
To help cope with stress that may be related to the pandemic, take care of your body including good nutrition, as part of self-care.
Dietary supplements aren’t meant to treat or prevent COVID-19. Certain vitamins and mineralsexternal icon (e.g., Vitamins C and D, zinc) may have effects on how our immune system works to fight off infections, as well as inflammation and swelling.
The best way to obtain these nutrients is through foods: Vitamin Cexternal icon in fruits and vegetables, Vitamin Dexternal icon in low-fat milk, fortified milk alternatives, and seafood, and zincexternal icon in lean meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
In some cases, dietary supplementsexternal icon may have unwanted effects, especially if taken in too large amounts, before surgery, or with other dietary supplements or medicines, or if you have certain health conditions.
If you are considering taking vitamins or dietary supplements, talk with your pharmacist, registered dietitian, or other healthcare provider before taking, especially when combining or substituting them with other foods or medicine.
With changes in food availability in some communities, you may be consuming more canned or packaged food. Tips on purchasing canned and packaged goods using the Nutrition Facts labelexternal icon are available. In addition, helpful food planning is available at MyPlateexternal icon.
Getting the right amount of nutritious food like plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains is important for health. If you or your household need help in obtaining nutritious food, find additional resources at USDA Nutrition Assistance Programexternal icon, or call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE to speak with a representative who will find food resources such as meal sites, food banks, and other social services available near your location.