BDN cites Machado, Bolton in article on safely exchanging food during COVID-19

The Bangor Daily News cited University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff Robson Machado, assistant Extension professor and food science specialist, and Jason Bolton, associate Extension professor, in an article about how to safely exchange food during the coronavirus pandemic. There is currently no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through food or food containers. But according to Machado and Bolton, there are steps to take if you are preparing food for someone else — not only to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but also to practice good food safety protocols. “The person cooking should wash their hands before preparing the food and during cooking if necessary,” Machado said. “Also, cook to appropriate temperatures, avoid cross-contamination and avoid touching your face during preparation. Those are all basic food safety and personal hygiene practices that people should always follow.” And there are additional guidelines for maintaining social distancing when delivering food to another person. “The best suggestion here is to leave the food unattended, like on a porch, mailbox or [at the] front door and immediately notify the recipient,” Machado said, and recommended also using a secondary container like a clean plastic bag or tote bag to put the food container in. Machado said that recipients should remove the secondary container and put the main food container on a clean surface. “After that, wash your hands before handling the food. Also, clean any surfaces that came in contact with the container. Remember to never use soap or any sanitizer directly on the food,” he said. Additionally, it is a good idea to reheat shared food — not because of the coronavirus, but because it is the best practice for general food safety, according to Machado.