COVID-19 FAQ for Food Service: Cleaning and Disinfection1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman 2

This flyer is best viewed as a PDF. It provides guidance for food service establishments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Updated March 30, 2020.

There is no CDC report that COVID-19 is transmitted through food, but evidence suggests it may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces. CDC recommends cleaning followed by disinfection as a best practice for prevention of COVID-19.

WHAT DISINFECTANTS SHOULD BE USED?

  • CDC advises using compounds on the list of EPA recommended disinfectants, found at go.ncsu.edu/epacovid-19. (Note: this list is based on current data, but compounds have not been validated for inactivation of the virus causing COVID-19).

  • Check with chemical suppliers to see if currently used compounds are on the list and if changes need to be made for them to be used effectively.

  • To use heat, run utensils or equipment through a commercial dishwasher that will heat to 145°F (65°C) or higher for five minutes or longer. Alternatively, hot water maintained at or above 145°F (65°C) can be used.

HOW SHOULD SURFACES BE HANDLED?

  • EPA recommended commercial disinfectants should be used on the following as often as is practical:

    • Tables, chairs, counter, handrails, etc.

    • All self-service surfaces, including: buffet/salad bar lines, shakers, bottles, condiments, etc.

    • Restroom surfaces, including: doorknobs, faucets, handles, etc.

  • Avoid wiping surfaces with water only; use a disinfectant.

HOW SHOULD SELF-SERVICE AREAS BE HANDLED?

  • Utensils in self-service areas should be changed as often as possible. Management should assess how frequently they are used and make decisions.

  • Consider moving self-serve items like condiments and utensils to behind the employee counter to minimize contact, if possible.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IF A GUEST IS DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?

  • Contact and coordinate with the health department, as they will want to trace both employee and guest contacts and can advise on guest messaging.

  • CDC recommends if a facility has a known case of COVID-19 in their restaurant they should close that area off and wait as long as practical to begin cleaning and disinfecting.

For More Information

Visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

(800) 232-4636

Footnotes

1. This document is FSHN20-13, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication. © NCSU. Used with permission.
2. Natalie Seymour, MS, Extension associate; Mary Yavelak, MS, Extension associate; Candice Christian, MPH, Extension associate; and Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist; NC State University Extension. UF Contact: Michelle Danyluk, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL | mddanyluk@ufl.edu | (863) 956-8654.

Publication #FSHN20-13

Date: 2020-05-19

Related Topics

Fact Sheet

Contacts

  • Michelle Danyluk