Food businesses - Coronavirus update
During the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 situation, many businesses are moving to a takeaway model following the social distancing measures implemented by the government.
The Food Standards Agency has advised that it's improbable that COVID-19 can be transferred from one person to another via food.
We're currently receiving two types of enquiry:
- Businesses such as restaurants that are adapting their menu's and offering take away
- Businesses that are expanding from little or no snack food to providing meals
Moving to a take-away model - advice and guidance
If you're a business that wants to begin operating in this way during these difficult times, then we have a few considerations listed here:
- The requirements for food production haven't changed. It's as important as ever to make sure that you continue to adhere to food hygiene and safety
- You should have suitable facilities to offer takeaways including structure, hand washing facilities, equipment washing and proper toilet provision
- Your staff should be trained, fit and able to work. Also consider the additional risks to these staff; how are you going minimise their risk of exposure to the virus?
- Ensure your staff are practising social distancing, as advised by the government
- You should have a suitably documented Food Safety Management System (such as Safer Food Better Business which you can download for free) for your business. If offering takeaway meals is new to your business, review what you're doing to see if there are any significant changes to be made
- Identify which food options are going to be made available for takeaway and delivery. Not all of your usual menu items will be suitable for takeaway
- Take the chance to review your allergen procedures and establish how this allergen information is going to be communicated? Customers must be advised to 'ask about allergens' at any point where orders can be placed, such as menus and websites. Consider who is going to pass on this information. How will you avoid cross-contamination in transit? How will you ensure the right customer gets the right meal? Further advice for business about allergens is available from the Food Standards Agency website.
- Ensure you have adequate storage facilities for any additional stock you're purchasing
- Think about how you're going to process the food orders and update your foods safety management system. Will you be significantly changing the way you cook and pre-preparing food? If so, how are you hot holding/cooling and refrigerating it? Are you preparing food in advance or continuing to cook to order?
- Think about the practicalities of the food delivery; how far are you going to deliver meals? How will you arrange payment? Are the containers that are to be used food safe? Is further insurance required?
- How are you going to carry out the delivery to ensure temperature control is maintained and to prevent cross-contamination? We advise that use insulated boxes - in particular, separate boxes for cold and hot food items.
We'll be updating this advice with further guidance as the national situation to the coronavirus pandemic changes.