Food Delivery Drivers Pick at Your Meal

Published on December 29, 2019

Half of Americans rely on food delivery services to complete their holiday meals, but the cost of convenience comes at the expense of your food being tampered with.

Studies show 62% of people stress out during the holiday season. With 36 percent being from cooking. No wonder why online orders spike.

Postmates’s data shows over 2.3 million orders placed through December 2017 and 4.5 million orders in December 2018. 

In 2018, UBS found food delivery platforms in major cities are in the most-downloaded apps. 

“We think it’s possible that by 2030 most meals currently cooked at home will instead be ordered online and delivered from restaurants or central kitchens,” according to UBS.

Say Cheese, You’re On-Camera  Delivery Driver 

But in October, CBS’s David Goldstein interviewed a food delivery driver who says drivers help themselves to a customer’s food, and some go as far as taking a sip of soda.

“Taking sips of soda all the time….sticking a straw in it and drinking it and putting another top on it,” he said.

Tampering with food alone is unacceptable, but taking a sip out of someone’s drink crosses the line. However, this is not an isolated incident.

Goldstein’s team filmed one delivery driver eating fries from a Fatburger order as he’s getting into his car, and helped himself to more as he starts pulling out of the parking lot. And before handing the customer their order, he licks his fingers and wipes them on his hairy legs.

In a different incident, Goldstein films a man eating fries from a delivery bag, but he says, “I had food in my car,” once confronted.

Food Delivery Services Pose Health Hazards

Food safety expert Jeff Nelken told CBS these delivery services pose health hazards. 

“So there are all kinds of possibilities of exposure to bacteria, to contaminants in the car and just touching everything,” Nelken said.

He continued, “I’m someone who uses these services, I wouldn’t have even thought of that, David.”

“Sometimes, impulse gets the best of deliverers”: Drivers Bit the Apple

US Foods conducted a survey of 500 food delivery drivers using apps like Postmates, Grub Hub, DoorDash and Uber Eats.

From a scale of 1 being “no big deal” and 10 being “absolutely unacceptable,” the average customer’s response was 8.4 out of 10. 

Of the 500 delivery drivers surveyed: 54 percent admitted the food’s smell is tempting, and half of them took a bite.

US Foods said in a statement to NPR, “We’re sorry to report that sometimes, impulse gets the best of deliverers, and they violate their sacred duty by taking some of the food!”

Guidelines: Don’t Tamper Food
Uber driver picking up sealed McDonalds order. Courtesy: Reddit

McDonald’s is one of many restaurants sealing their bags with a label or packaging. And 85 percent of customers suggest a tamper-evident seal. But not all restaurants seal their bags.

Grub Hub told NPR if a customer suspects some of their food missing, they will refund their money and investigate the incident. 

Uber Eats guidelines say a driver’s account will be deactivated for fraudulent activity, misuse or “claiming to complete a delivery without ever picking up the delivery item;and picking up a delivery item but not delivering it in full.”

And Doordash tells drivers to “not open food containers or tamper with the order in anyway.”

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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