Is it safe to buy meat during the pandemic?

Planning to host another barbecue this summer? Or perhaps you’re simply cooking up plenty of meat-based evening meals for yourself and your family?

Given varying recent news headlines, you may be wondering if meat is safe to eat in the height of the coronavirus pandemic – and we’re here to delve into the subject so you can make a more informed decision about what you put on your plate. That’s providing you’re not a vegetarian or vegan anyway.  If the latter is you, do continue as you were!

The Yorkshire Post says the risk of eating meat from an affected factory is ‘generally low’ – so long as you cook it to the correct minimum temperature, as heat is known to kill coronavirus.

‘The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that heating at 56°C for 15 minutes substantially reduces the infectivity of the virus, so any meat cooked at the recommended temperature should not have any viable trace of the virus left by the time you eat it.’ states the piece, for anyone who needs more reassurance.

That said, you should only do anything you feel comfortable doing – and if you’d rather forego eating meat for the time being, that’s fine too.

Angela L. Rasmussen, PhD, a virologist in the faculty of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health told Forbes Magazine that “meat is probably not a big risk”, adding that “there is no evidence of food borne transmission”.

Though there is evidence that coronavirus can live on packaging, Rasmussen told the Forbes team that the time between the packaging of the meat at the factory and the customer buying it makes it unlikely that the virus will spread through contact with packaging.

So, will you be hosting a barbecue later this month? The choice is yours – but as the advice suggests, cook your food thoroughly and you will minimise the risk of contracting the virus.

Want some tips on hosting a socially distanced barbecue for friends and family? We have you covered – just take a look at our recent guide, which contains advice on allowing guests to use your bathroom, and setting up dedicated hand sanitising areas in the garden.

Also, bear in mind that when you shop for your meat for the barbie, you will now (as of today, July 24, 2020) need to wear a face mask when you do. You’re not just protecting others when you do so; you’re protecting yourself, so make sure you wear one to keep everyone safe. Once you’re back at home cooking your food, you can host your barbecue without wearing a mask (providing your guests are comfortable with this) and as long as you stay one metre away from others, you will be reducing your risk.

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Until next time…