There is a lot of fear surrounding the novel coronavirus. The pathogen which spreads through respiratory droplets has infected thousands across the globe already. While it is reasonable to feel anxious in the face of a pandemic, try not to panic. You must also be wondering how coronavirus could affect the food supply and your eating habits. If you are contemplating if eating out is unsafe and whether you should stick to just home-cooked foods, here's what you need to know.

Can the Novel Coronavirus Be Transmitted Through Food?

Researchers are still trying to understand the specifics of how COVID-19 is transmitted. But one thing that is clear as of now is that the disease can spread through droplets released from the nose or the mouth while coughing or sneezing.

You can catch the infection when you inhale these droplets or touch your mouth, eyes or nose after coming in contact with the surfaces where the droplets land. As of now, there are no reports which suggest that COVID-19 can spread through food or food packaging. But since the mode of transmission of the disease is primarily respiratory, the chances of catching the infection through food is meagre. Coronavirus in Children: How Can You Tell If Your Child Has COVID-19? Everything Parents Need to Know About the Deadly Virus

Should You Avoid Any Specific Foods In The Grocery Store?

Since there are no reports of COVID-19 being transmitted through food, you do not have to avoid any food in particular. The only concern while shopping in a grocery store is the risk of coronavirus being transmitted from person to person. So yes, it is possible to get COVID-19 if an infected person is sneezing standing right beside you, and both of you are scratching for that ripe papaya. You can even get infected if a droplet from the infected person lands on a packet of cereal that you touch, and then touch your face without washing your hands. However, it is still unclear how much of the virus needs to be present for transmission.

The best thing to do is to keep a three-foot distance from people who are coughing or sneezing. Also, ensure that you wash your hands regularly and keep that away from your face. Coronavirus Prevention: How to Keep Your Hands Germ-Free? The Best Way to Wash Your Hands to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

Is It Safe To Eat Out?

There is no reason to avoid visiting restaurants. And even if the virus is present in your food, it will be killed by proper cooking. The only possible risk about visiting restaurants is being in the same location as infected people who could be depositing droplets on the surfaces and menu cards. Washing your hands and using an alcohol-based sanitiser can be an effective way to avoid getting infected. Coronavirus Symptoms: When Should You Visit The Doctor? Expert Reveals the Common, Serious and Alarming Signs That You May Have COVID-19

What Precautionary Measures While Preparing Food At Home?

The only precautionary measures that you should take while preparing food at home is to wash your hands regularly and avoid entering the kitchen if you are showing symptoms. While cooking meals, follow standard food safety practices such as cleaning the surfaces often, separating raw meat from others and cooking food in the appropriate temperature.

As concerns grow about the spread of coronavirus, food and sanitisers are flying off the supermarket stores. It can be a good idea to stock some non-perishable food in your kitchen, in case of a situation where you cannot go out and shop.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 05, 2020 10:04 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website