Food businesses

With the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Protection have put together some useful advice for the following:

In addition, the government has produced guidance for food businesses on Coronavirus. You may also be interested in the recently introduced Guidance Register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Public Protection would like to highlight the following paragraph from the above guidance, which will need to be implemented if you still intend to operate as a take-away premise:

  • no orders should be taken in person on the premises - this should be communicated to customers by appropriate means such as signage
  • businesses should therefore only take orders online or by telephone
  • customers could have staggered collection times - customers should be discouraged from entering the premises until their order is ready
  • customers arriving without having already placed an order should be encouraged to leave the premises to place their order by telephone or online, and to return at a designated time for collection
  • customers whose orders are ready should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments
  • businesses should discourage crowding outside the premises. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain the 2 metres separation.

In order to protect your staff and customers against catching Coronavirus, if your business does not have the ability to take online and phone orders you will have to rethink whether you should open.

If you do change how you currently operate, then you should think through the food safety hazards and ensure that you have adequate control measures in place to provide safe food for your customers.

Additional issues to consider

In addition to the current food safety controls you already have in place, you need to consider:

  • Suppliers - Ensure you continue to use reputable suppliers.
  • Surface disinfectants - Where suitable surface disinfectants are unavailable you must continue to adequately clean any food preparation surfaces and equipment using detergent and hot water.
  • Cross contamination - Equipment used for raw and ready to eat foods must be separate if you cannot effectively clean and sanitise in-between uses with a suitable sanitiser due to them being unavailable.
  • Hand washing - Regardless of the availability of hand sanitisers, all food handlers must regularly wash their hands using warm running water, hand soap (for at least 20 seconds) and dry them with disposable paper towels.
  • Temperature control - Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool during transportation. This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag. If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot. This may need to be packed in an insulated box or bag. It is recommended to keep travel distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.
  • Allergens - If you have made any changes to your menu ensure you have reviewed your allergy information. It is also vitally important to protect your customers that you work through this. There is also a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the FSA website. Do not serve people with a food allergies or intolerances if you cannot guarantee that food has not been contaminated with their specific allergen.
  • Vehicles - All vehicles used to transport or deliver food must be kept clean, in good repair and condition and free from sources of contamination to protect food. All foods must be fully wrapped or packaged for transport or delivery to prevent contamination.
  • Contact-free delivery - When customers place an order you need to ask if they are self-isolating. This is to limit contact when delivering orders to help keep everyone healthy. Social distancing needs to be adhered to even if someone is not exhibiting any symptoms. You could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, then step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for the customer to collect it.
  • Takeaways - If available it is recommended that hand sanitiser is provided to customers. If this is not available due to the national shortage, then you should leave the entrance door open and clean and disinfect any potential hand contact surfaces regularly. Orders should be paid for with contactless payment wherever possible. If this is not possible then hands need to be washed thoroughly after handling money.
  • Social distancing during collection of takeaways -. You should limit the number of customers who enter the premises to collect food so that the 2 metres social distancing rule can be adhered to. Social distancing could be achieved with the use of floor markers or similar. There is also government guidance on social distancing. For details visit GOV.UK - Guidance on social distancing
  • Infection Control - You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations. In addition, you have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public. Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place; any person with illness or symptoms must report it to a person in charge. Ensure the Government's infection control policy in relation to coronavirus is followed. For details visit GOV.UK - COVID 19: Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses.

For more information on how to sell products for takeaway or delivery visit the FSA - Distance selling, mail order and delivery.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact this department by email at coronavirus@telford.gov.uk.

Alternatively, call us on 01952 381818 (please note that we are experiencing an extremely high volume of calls, so we would advise you to email us if you can).

Last updated: 05/11/2020 12:16