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Food Handling Guidance for Businesses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

This article was originally published on Thursday 26 March, 2020.

You must be registered with us if you sell or supply food. You must also tell us if you’re considering:

  • selling different food than you would normally, especially if it includes high risk food types like seafood, dairy products or meat
  • providing home deliveries if you haven’t before

Guidance

If you’re selling or supplying food, you must consider food hygiene standards. You must also consider:

  • temperature controls
  • food wrapping
  • the separation of foods
  • allergens
  • staff hygiene and infection control
  • your arrangements for delivering food safely, if you’re offering this

Temperature control

You must:

  • keep high risk cold foods like seafood and dairy products below 8°C
  • regularly check fridges and freezers with a clean thermometer
  • cook hot food to 75°C
  • keep hot food hot at or above 63°C until it's served

You should the temperature of hot food regularly with a clean thermometer.

Food wrapping

All the food you prepare must be wrapped to prevent contamination before supplying it to a customer.

Use food grade wrapping like lidded containers, cling film or foil and tightly wrap it around the food.

Separate food

When you’re storing or supplying food to customers, you must separate:

  • raw food, like meat, fish or unwashed vegetables and fruit, and ready to eat foods from one another
  • food that’s intended for a customer with allergies from other food so there’s no risk of cross-contamination

Allergens

If the food you’re supplying contain allergens, you must provide:

  • either verbal or written information about them with the food you’re supplying in person
  • written information, such as a label, if you’re delivering the food

For more information about allergen management, you can visit the Food Standards Agency’s website.

Staff hygiene and infection control

You must make sure:

  • that food handlers, including delivery drivers are fit to work
  • that you provide your staff with clear instructions about
  • staff know how to protect themselves from infection
  • staff report illnesses, especially if they’re handling food

You can read the government’s guidance for employers and businesses.

Guidance for delivering food

You should also have a system in place to determine if the customer is self-isolating and limit physical contact with customers when you’re delivering by:

  • take payments over the phone or through your website
  • alerting the customer by knocking the door or phoning them to let them know you’ve arrived
  • leaving deliveries on their doorstep instead of handing it to them directly
  • stepping back when the customer answers the door
  • provide drivers with hand sanitiser or disposable gloves
  • make sure that drivers wash their hands thoroughly when they return to your business

Vehicles

Food delivery vehicles must be:

  • in good condition
  • clean

Storing food

If you use boxes or trays to store food as you’re delivering it, they should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. You should use a cloth or paper towel and thrown them away when you’re finished.

You should use a sanitiser or disinfectant that’s test to British Safety Standard BS EN 1276/ BS EN 13697.

You must keep cold food cool and hot food hot while you’re transporting it. We recommend that you keep:

  • delivery distances short
  • limit delivery times to within 30 minutes and no longer than two hours

You can visit the Food Standards Agency’s website for more information about selling food through distance selling, mail order and delivery.

Handling Money

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is being transmitted by money but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. We recommend that you use contactless payment method wherever possible, including contactless cards or smart watches.

You should wash your hands after handling money, especially if you’re handling or eating food.

More advice

For more information or advice on selling food, you can call 01622 602460. Alternatively, you can email EHadmin@midkent.gov.uk.

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