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Food handling and safety tips for COVID-19

By
Peter Bouchier
Peter Bouchier
March 24, 2020
minute read

Keeping you and your family safe from contamination

As coronavirus continues to affect every facet of our lives, from work to socialising, we all need to know exactly what we can do to prevent its spread. Part of this effort involves food safety — understanding how diseases are passed on in the food preparation process, and using approved methods to avoid it.

Peter Bouchier is here to help you make the best of this situation. Skip the crowds at the supermarket and order high quality meat directly to your home.

What is coronavirus anyway?

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is a highly contagious virus that may have originated from wild animals. The disease aggressively attacks the respiratory system. It is known colloquially as coronavirus.

Many patients recovering from COVID-19 present symptoms similar to the seasonal flu. However, certain segments of the population are heavily impacted by the disease, including:

  • People with pre-existing respiratory issues
  • Babies and the elderly
  • Patients with cancer and diabetes
  • Immune-compromised individuals

These are the most vulnerable members of our community at the moment. It's up to us to protect them by flattening the curve.

The good news is that there's no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is transmitted through food. Infection usually comes from being in close proximity to infected people. Droplets pass from the carrier to the new host through breathing, coughing, sneezing, and other bodily functions.

Here are some general tips to keep in mind when thinking about food preparation while this disease is widely prevalent in the community.

1. Wash hands

This issue has been at the top of the list since the virus was first discovered in December, 2019. Hand-washing is one of the easiest ways to fight the spread of COVID-19, especially prior to food preparation.

Soap works to break down the protection barrier around the virus, decimating it before it makes contact with the body. The mechanical act of hand-washing also works to disperse and damage the virus.

When it comes to washing your hands, follow these steps.

  1. Begin with warmish water and a good lather of soap on your hands and palms, working the soap around evenly.
  2. Pay special attention to the areas between your fingers, your fingertips, and beneath your nails.
  3. Finish around your wrists, ensuring to cover the underside of your arm.
  4. Rinse well, and dry your hands completely, preferably with a disposable paper towel.

One of our favourite chefs, Gordon Ramsey, puts this into practice in the video below.

2. Disinfect surfaces

At the end of the days production, Peter Bouchier clean the premises using a chemical designed for the meat industry consisting of Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium hypochlorite, followed by a no rinse sanitiser consisting of Quaternary ammonium.

COVID-19 may not live on food, but it certainly lives on surfaces. At the time of publishing, a study presented by the New England Journal of Medicine found that coronavirus stays on surfaces for an extended period of time. Here are the findings.

Surface

Time infected

Aerosols

3 hours

Copper

4 hours

Cardboard

24 hours

Plastic and metal

2 to 3 days

Wood

4 days

To prevent this, you can clean and sanitise surfaces as normal with hot water and detergent. You can also go the extra mile and use a commercial sanitiser like hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid and 70% ethanol. Please keep in mind, however, that the alcohol content in hand sanitiser is not enough to cleanse surfaces.

When you're getting ready to clean, be sure to keep your bleach away from other household of cleaning products. Bleach mixed with vinegar, ammonia, or rubbing alcohol can lead to highly toxic and noxious chemical combinations.

3. Keep an eye on your meat

While it is suspected that COVID-19 originated in wild animals, you shouldn't have too much to worry about. Australian meat is subject to strict quality control measures, prohibiting the sale of meat from diseased sources.

It pays to take extra special care when cooking meat in this day and age:

  • Cook all meat properly. We suggest using a thermometer to measure internal temperatures.
  • Don't cross-contaminate. Ensure that you are using different cutlery and cutting boards when prepping meat.
  • Err on the side of caution. If you smell meat and it seems a bit off, chuck it.

If you're looking to order meat, don't brave the crowds at the supermarket. Peter Bouchier now sells online and delivers meat right to your door, minimising contact, and ensuring that you always get your order filled.

4. Stay inside and don't host

Food is often the centre of each event on the social calendar. The team at Peter Bouchier love nothing more than a backyard barbeque on a sunny Sunday. Unfortunately, we need to protect our vulnerable friends. That means keeping socially distant in the coming months.

It's in everyone's best interest to stay inside. If you do that, it will be almost impossible to catch COVID-19, meaning that it will not be transferred to family members who could potentially spread it into the community.

This logic applies for hosting. Don't invite anyone over. Even asymptomatic people can still carry the virus and infect the elderly, the sick, and those with compromised immune systems.

5. Practice general awareness

The best way to overcome a pandemic is through hypervigilance. By pretending that you already have the disease, you can stop the spread in your home and in the community. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Practice good hygiene by wearing gloves and masks outside.
  • Refrain from touching your face throughout the day.
  • Don't make contact with other people, even through handshakes.
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow.

With a who lot of care, we can get through this together. Good food preparation, attention to hygiene, and general cleanliness all have their part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Peter Bouchier is here to help you take the stress our of finding and cooking high quality meat in the current crisis. You can order online with us, and we'll have it to you in just a few business days — clean and safe.

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