COVID-19 Surviving on Cardboard Prompts Fears About Food Delivery

The coronavirus was determined to live on cardboard for up to 24 hours.
The coronavirus was determined to live on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

March 30, 2020 — With people being concerned about going into public, an increase in food delivery demand is being seen across the food industry. But food delivery is not without its risks. Food delivery personnel and customers need to know what these risk are and how to minimize them.

COVID-19 is extremely contagious and there is much that scientists are still trying to learn about the virus. In a recent study by The New England Journal of Medicine, it was determined that the coronavirus can live for varying times on different surfaces. For food delivery, the biggest concern is the virus’ ability to survive on cardboard — a staple material used in most food deliveries.

In a controlled environment in the study, the coronavirus was determined to live on cardboard for up to 24 hours. So, what does this mean for food delivery concerns?

When it comes to packing the food in the food business, extra precaution needs to be taken to ensure the food delivery boxes are not contaminated. Kitchen staff (or any staff that touch the delivery boxes before they leave the business) need to wash their hands frequently and practice proper personal hygiene. For delivery personnel, frequent hand washing along with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as disposable gloves should be encouraged. This helps mitigate the risk of the coronavirus being passed onto cardboard boxes as they are delivered to the customer. Placing the delivery items in sealable bags also helps to reduce the possibility of cardboard delivery boxes being contaminated with the coronavirus in transit.

It is also important to understand that the virus surviving on a surface is different than the virus’ ability to transfer from that surface. There is still much that is unknown about the virus’ ability to transfer from different surfaces, so preventative measures like the ones listed above should always be practiced. These preventative measures are a sure way that food businesses can do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their locality.