Covid-19Posted on 08.04.2020

Keep up your food hygiene standards

Keep up the good work during these difficult times but remember to keep up your food hygiene standards too. It’s one area where we can’t afford compromises.

NSF has put together some key considerations and tips that food businesses should follow.

Teams

- Make your teams aware of symptoms of COVID-19, what to do if they develop symptoms and how they protect others from the coronavirus

- Check latest government guidance via www.gov.uk/coronavirus for up-to-date information – especially information for food businesses

- Wherever possible, colleagues must maintain a 2-metre distance from each other

- Ensure all colleagues fully understand what they need to do to protect themselves and others at work

Training

- Ensure all teams are aware of your new ways of working, the controls you have introduced and why you created them

- Make teams aware of what they need to do if they suspect they have COVID-19

- Reinforce previous training teams may have received on personal hygiene practices, cleaning and disinfection, and other food hygiene and safety practices, including allergen control

- Document any additional training you have provided for teams

Allergies

- Ask customers at the point of ordering if they have any allergies you should be aware of

- Record the customer’s allergies carefully and ensure all teams communicate effectively on this critical issue

- Clearly label the meal of the customer that has the allergy – large bold text or stickers to distinguish the meal from others

- If you cannot prepare an allergy-free meal safely in your premises, do not offer one

Temperatures

- Cook all foods to suitable core temperatures (e.g. 75° C for 30 seconds, or equivalent)

- Chill foods, as quickly as possible, to 8° C if you are preparing food to reheat at a later time

- Reheat foods so that they are piping hot in the centre (e.g. 75° C for 30 seconds, or equivalent) and serve as quickly as possible

- If food is being stored hot, ensure it is kept above 63° C and is regularly monitored

Cleaning & Disinfection

- Practice two-stage cleaning as regularly as possible to reduce surface contamination

- Focus on regular cleaning of hand contact surfaces throughout your business

- Check effectiveness of cleaning chemicals against viral contamination (contact chemicals supplier if unsure)

- Implement suitable cleaning practices for all equipment/surfaces likely to be touched by customers (counters, delivery bags, etc.)

Handwashing

- COVID-19 can be effectively controlled by regular, effective handwashing

- Encourage regular handwashing (at least 20 seconds) amongst all food handlers and delivery drivers

- Keep adequate handwashing facilities available at all times (anti-bacterial soap, warm running water and hygienic drying facilities, e.g. paper towel)

- Managers must demonstrate best practice handwashing at all times, your team will follow

Takeaway

- Encourage cashless payments to minimise need for direct/close interaction with customers

- Implement a process for safe and hygienic collection of orders if customers collect e.g. 1 customer entry at a time into store

- Advise queuing customers to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres – signage and floor markings will assist

- Identify a low-risk area of your business where orders can be collected by delivery drivers

Deliveries

- Choose appropriate insulated containers/bags that can be easily cleaned in between use

- Limit deliveries to a 30-minute travel radius

- Ensure all drivers and riders have appropriate insurance for business use

- Advise drivers to leave food orders on doorstep and wait for customer to take receipt before leaving the customer’s address

- Leave a message on the food delivery bag advising customers to wash their hands immediately before eating, and to disinfect all surfaces where the bag has been placed.

Other Information

- Check the premises licence if you are permitted to offer alcohol sales away from the business ‘off-sales’

- UK Government has permitted relaxation of planning rules for 12 months to allow pubs and restaurants to offer takeaway/delivery – inform your local authority of your intentions

- Check out additional guidance published by the Food Standards Agency and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.