Ordering Takeout: Food and Health Safety

After a day of grueling work, we usually don’t have the energy to cook a full course meal on a late night. So, what is the solution for a quick and easy dinner? Takeout, of course. And more often than not, whenever we think of takeout, pizza delivery comes to mind. In fact, pizza was one of the top three choices for takeout in 2020

Whether you’re a college student, in a time crunch, or simply just don’t feel like cooking for a night, most people have ordered takeout at least once in their adult lives. It’s a fairly simple process; just call in your order and then you’ll have a full prepped meal within the hour. However, as efficient as it may be, there are still safety precautions that need to be taken as both a consumer and a business.

In this article, we breakdown the steps on safe pizza delivery, as well as best practices for other food deliveries, for both consumers and the business.

Ordering Preparation

Before ordering, it’s important to know which company you’re choosing from, as well as their reputation and reliability in serving safe and well-cooked foods. Though it may sound tedious, asking questions first is important. Look into the companies you’re ordering from, and even go as far as to call customer services to ask about their food safety protocol and measures. This ensures that you’ll be at lower risk to food poisoning. 

before ordering, find a reliable brand and ask questions about food safety and health

It’s also important to know what the business will do in case of an issue, such as food being delivered at an unsafe temperature or is otherwise not safe to eat. As a consumer, it’s critical to know whether or not you’ll be compensated for that failed meal as well as the steps the company will take to make sure that it won’t happen again with another customer. Further research could include checking to see if the company has information on the preparation of the food and how it will be delivered and the safe shipping and handling of it. 

Also, if you’re ordering through a third party application, make sure that you’re choosing a service that’s reliable and has good reviews. This doesn’t just mean five star reviews and quick service, but also that the driver is also handling the food in a safe and sanitary manner. 

Always make sure that someone is home to receive the delivery. Otherwise, your food will most likely be left outside, which can increase health risks or attract pests. If there won’t be anyone available to receive the order, try to find a safe, cool space for it to be left or push back your order until someone can be present to receive it. 

Handling Your Order

When receiving any food order, it’s best to opt for contactless delivery, which reduces any risk of infection such as COVID-19 from a deliverer. 

If you order home-delivered groceries and/or a subscription meal kit, make sure that it isn’t above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This may seem like a random thing to check, but “bacteria can multiply rapidly if food is kept in the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F for more than two hours”. If your food is above this noted temperature, notify the company immediately. Don’t eat or taste the food because though it may smell and taste fine, it could still be unsafe. 

If you’re using utensils that aren’t yours personally, be sure to sanitize them well, even if they’re in small plastic packets. There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to germs and bacteria. If you’re to have leftovers after the meal, try to get them refrigerated within 2 hours after delivery. If you believe your food may be contaminated, contact a food safety hotline. For meat, poultry, or pasteurized egg products, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline External icon at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). For all other food products, call FDA’s Food and Cosmetic Information Center External icon at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366).

sanitize plastic utensils and refrigerate leftovers
Domino’s: What They’re Doing and Why It’s Working

Domino’s is definitely a top contender among pizza consumers. They’re extremely well-known, easily accessible due to the number of locations, and reliable in terms of the quality of pizza you get each time you order. There is a reason for their good reputation. They’ve made it very obvious that they prioritize safety when it comes to their food and hygiene.

For takeout, they offer contactless deliveries. Here’s how it works: 

  • When customers are making an order, there is a delivery instructions box. In this box, customers can type in any special directions, including the location where they would like the delivery to be placed.
  • There is also prepayment and pre-tipping so when the order arrives, there is no contact at all between the driver and the customer. 
  • The delivery driver will also notify the customer once the order has arrived, and may even call them for extra clarity.
  • The customer is suggested to pick up their order once the driver has returned to their vehicle, or is at least 6 feet away.

Domino’s orders also include a “Domino’s Carside Delivery”. This method is utilized for contactless deliveries and contact-free takeout. After a customer places their order online, they can drive to their local Domino’s store and drive right up to the establishment. Then, once they’ve checked in online, a Domino’s worker will come right up to your car and deliver their order, contact free. For example, the employee can either hand you the pizza directly or customers have the option to open up their trunk or backseat so the worker can place the order straight into their car.

This innovation has created a safer way for customers to interact with delivery drivers. Domino’s has put their customers and employee’s safety as a top priority, combatting health risks with the pandemic as well as food safety risks. In stores, they are constantly sanitizing and hand washing. The food is also handled properly. For example, after a product is cooked in the 450 degree oven, the pizza is removed not by hand, but by pizza peel to be placed directly into the box. 

Domino’s has exceeded expectations when it comes to food safety and customer service, something that other pizza companies should also strive for. 

Safety First

Though ordering any food for takeout may seem simple, there are many more levels to consider to stay safe and healthy. On both the consumer and company end, safety and health should come first. Digging a little deeper to achieve these goals will make a world of a difference.