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How to Handle Food Delivery and To-Go Orders Safely

To-go bag and cooler help with delivering food safely

Delivery driving is fast becoming a popular occupation across the country as companies like DoorDash and Uber Eats make their services more affordable and widespread. For college students and others looking for an easy way to make an extra buck, delivery driving is the ideal occupation.

It requires relatively little effort to become a driver, and the work can be fast-paced and fun. One of my coworkers recently shared how her daughter enjoys delivering food with her friends as a way to get paid while relaxing in the evenings.

Food worker with mask hands customer her delivery order

Delivery service isn’t new, however. Pizza companies, among others, have sent their employees to deliver for years. Even Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker had his humble beginnings delivering pizza from a shop in New York City.

To-go orders are becoming increasingly popular as well, and restaurants need to be equipped to fulfill their customers’ wishes.

No matter what company they work for, delivery drivers and food workers who prepare to-go orders need proper training to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Read on to learn how you or your employees can become safe food handlers in a matter of minutes.

Three keys to delivering food safely

Being a safe food delivery driver boils down to three simple things:

  1. Avoiding cross-contamination
  2. Practicing good personal hygiene
  3. Following the rules of temperature control when applicable

Cross-contamination occurs when food touches things it shouldn’t. For example, raw meat shouldn’t touch food that isn’t going to be cooked to the same temperature as the meat. Cross-contact is another key term that refers to separating allergenic foods from non-allergenic foods.

As with any food worker, delivery drivers need to practice good hygiene. They should keep their hands clean and avoid touching contaminated surfaces before handling food. They should also keep their workspaces — in this case, that means their cars — clean. They should also avoid working if they exhibit symptoms of illness.

Temperature control is also important for delivery drivers. If a customer orders ice cream, they wouldn’t want it to arrive melted. They also wouldn’t want it to arrive contaminated by harmful bacteria that can grow on foods that need to be hot- or cold-held. Anytime a delivery will take longer than 30 minutes, drivers need a way to keep food at the proper temperature while traveling.

Handling to-go orders safely

Whether you’re bringing someone’s to-go order out to their car or just handing it to them when they pick it up, it’s still important to follow the principles outlined above.

When preparing and packaging the order, take steps to avoid cross-contamination. Make sure you’re practicing good hand hygiene and keeping your food prep and storage areas clean. You may also need to use hot- or cold-holding equipment to keep the customer’s order at a safe temperature.

Food safety training for food workers and delivery drivers

Just as a regular food worker should get food handler certification for their job, delivery drivers need proper training. That’s why we’ve developed a quick 10-minute course that covers the three keys to delivery driver food safety in more detail. 

In the course, individuals will master how to avoid cross-contamination, identify the specifics of good driver hygiene, and learn how to keep food at the proper temperature. The course features beautifully illustrated material that depicts delivery drivers responding to realistic situations. This helps learners follow and commit course material to memory. Once a safe delivery driver, always a safe delivery driver.

Our commitment is to make food safety a convenient habit to learn and practice. If you’re interested in learning more about our products, reach out to one of our account specialists through our Contact Us page. You can also find more info on our Industry Solutions page.

If you’re wondering how you can practice food safety when you’re the one ordering takeout, check out our takeout and delivery safety article.

— Calvin Clark

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