Understand food safety facts as pandemic continues

September is National Food Safety Education Month

The continuing pandemic has taught everyone to think about physical safety and hygiene, but there has been confusion about food safety and COVID-19, says Anirudh Naig, a food safety state specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Iowans have been dealing with the pandemic for over six months now. We continuously are reminded to follow best practices and wash our hands, maintain social distance, wear a mask and monitor ourselves for COVID-19 symptoms. However, we also need to guard against misinformation about food safety,” said Naig, who serves as an associate professor in the ISU Department of Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that there is no scientific evidence of transmission of COVID-19 by food and/or food packaging,” Naig said. “However, it is still important to follow best practices to ensure food safety and prevent food poisoning.”

Naig said to follow these core practices for food safety:

  • Clean. Wash hands and surfaces frequently.
  • Separate. Don’t cross-contaminate.
  • Cook. Cook foods to safe internal temperature.
  • Chill. Refrigerate promptly.

“Food handlers must practice safe food handling and appropriate COVID-19 precautionary measures,” Naig said.

September is National Food Safety Education Month. To learn more, see resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.