Q: My family is at high risk so I have been shopping thru home delivery services. Unfortunately I keep getting products that have tears or rips in it. I just got 3 loaves of bread. 1 had a rip by the top where the twisty thing has it closed. (Target shopper was probably too rushed to be careful).  I hate throwing away food. I was wondering if it could sometimes be safe to eat some of that food. Would it be safe to throw out the bread slices near the rip and eat the rest? 

A: Hi Maria,
Thanks for your question! Online grocery shopping is a very relevant and relatively new option.  I’m sorry that the pandemic and individuals (who have chosen not to take the vaccine) are causing you or your family to feel unsafe about shopping for groceries in person. Hopefully, the risk will decrease in the next year. I also completely understand not wanting to throw away food, especially if there isn’t anything noticeably wrong with it.  
 
Unfortunately, I cannot say food will be safe for consumption if the original packaging is damaged before it reaches you. While it could have occurred during the packing of your order or during delivery, it could also have occurred in the store or before it even reached the store. It is impossible to know. As a result, because of the potential risk, I’d advise you to avoid consuming food from damaged packaging and reach out to the store for a replacement.
 
As a general rule, we say “When in doubt, throw it out.” Have you considered asking a family friend or hiring an acquaintance to shop for you? With someone you know, you could be more specific on what is acceptable for you and your family. 
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