Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for food businesses

Due to changes brought about by Coronavirus (COVID-19), we understand that you may be looking at changing how you operate or to diversify to maintain your their business.

Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that Coronavirus can be spread through food. But, if you are changing how you normally operate you should:

  • think through the potential risks and hazards
  • make sure you pit have control measures in place to deal with these

This advice is mainly for food businesses that are already registered, but are now looking to provide takeaways and deliveries.

However, the advice relating to contact free delivery practices and infection control is important for businesses already offering this service.

Food safety

You must deliver any food to your customers in a way that makes sure it is safe and fit to eat.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides advice for businesses on how to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery. 

Allergies

You must check if your customers have any allergies when they order their food.

If you have a website you must include a clear message at the point you customers place their order asking them to tell you about any allergies.

If you are taking orders over the phone or on person, you must ask if your customer or anyone eating with them has any allergies.

If you cannot make allergen-free meals you must make this clear to your customers.

There is a wealth of advice for food businesses on allergen management on the FSA website. 

Contact-free delivery

Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you should:

  • Leave deliveries your customer’s door rather than handing it over to them
  • step back at least 2 metres after you have knocked on the door and wait nearby for your customer to collect their delivery
  • take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking cash

Contact-free service for takeaway

Limiting contact for takeaway orders will help keep everyone health so you should:

  • encourage your customers to order on the internet or by phone
  • deliver their food to them
  • limit the number of customers you allow in your premise to order the takeaway. You will need systems in place to manage this such as signs on your doors, windows and floor
  • manage how people are queuing outside your premises, using signs on your doors and windows
  • make sure customers stand at least two meters away from the counter when ordering.
  • step back to maintain distance when customers are paying or collecting food from the counter
  • encourage your customers ot pay by card
  • wash your hands after handling any money, and make sure you do not touch your face until you have been able to wash your hands
  • clean down counters between customers
  • regularly disinfect any hand contact surfaces such as door handles.
  • Remove any tables and chairs in your waiting area if possible.

Remember, customers cannot stay and eat in your premises.

Infection control

You have responsibilities to:

  • make sure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations
  • ensure the health, safety and welfare of people you employ and members of the public

You must provide all staff with clear instructions on any infection control policy you have in place.

If any member of your staff becomes ill, they must tell you straight away about their illness, the symptoms and any possible causes.

You can read the government guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses  for full details of what you should do.

This is not specific for food businesses, but it does tell you that should have a system in place to ask your customer if they are self-isolatiing so you can tell your delivery staff.

If a customer does tell you they are self-isolating, you must let the delivery staff know.

Handwashing

Regular handwashing is vitally important in a food business but now more so than ever staff must regularly wash their hands. You can find giudance and advice on handwashing from the NHS website .

Petrol Pumps and other surfaces touched while out delivering

Delivery drivers will need to regularly fill up their vehicles during the course of their work.

It is thought that the virus can survive on the surface of the petrol pump so care must be taken when getting fuel.

Drivers should:

  • wear gloves when touching the pump, removing these as soon as they have returned the pump, before touching anything else
  • wash their hands as soon as possible and before they deliver any foods
  • make sure they do not touch their face until they have been able to wash their hands

Drivers must also thoroughly wash their hands or use a hand gel after touching door handles and bells when they have made a delivery.

Food and Safety

Address: Causeway House,
Bocking End,
Braintree,
Essex,
CM7 9HB

Telephone: 01376 552525