Home meal delivery seems like a dream come true. Ready-to-make dinners delivered to our doors and we don’t have to get up? What more could you ask for? While this healthy and convenient trend has been picking up speed in a lot of households, there are some drawbacks to meal delivery services. This week, Rutgers University human ecology professor Bill Hallman brought up some uncomfortable truths about meal delivery services at the 2017 Food Safety Summit.
So what could be wrong with meal delivery services?
According to Food and Wine, Hallman studied 169 meal kits, interviewed 1,000 consumers, and tested 400 meal delivery websites. After all this research, he concluded that there are a lot of problems with the current state of at meal delivery kits. Needless to say, what he discovered might make you lose your lunch!
Some deliveries sit outside unrefrigerated for over 8 hours.
Hallman says that between traveling on trucks and waiting for you to get home, the food can spend a lot of time outside of a refrigerator. Hallman also found that only 5% of deliveries required a signature. Meaning that if you were on vacation or otherwise not home, your food could have the potential to sit around for a few days. Most companies don’t claim responsibility for any adverse health effects that come with eating food that isn’t delivered on time. Delivery companies like FedEx, UPS, and USPS also won’t claim responsibility.
So companies are not liable if you get sick from food that is delivered too late.
Only 42% of companies provide food safety information on their website. When it is present, it is often not specific or totally accurate. And some food safety advice was unhelpful, such as meat being safe “if cool to the touch.” Speaking of meat temperature, the packages arrived in a temperature range of minus 23 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
And many of those temperatures are much too high to store meat.
Finally, Hallman’s team tested the meat that arrived in warmer temperatures. He said that the microbial loads are crazy high.
While of course this isn’t the case for all meal delivery services, it does point out that we need to be careful. Meal delivery services are branded as healthy. That makes it easy to think you don’t need to worry about how it gets to your door. However, like anything in life, you’ve got to be aware of the risks and be careful!