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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – ADVICE FOR FOOD BUSINESSES

The Community Secretary has confirmed that planning rules will be relaxed to allow food businesses to operate as takeaways during the coronavirus, the relaxation period will be applied imminently for a limited period only.

Burnley Council understand that businesses may look to change their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during this time.

A business is only in position to do this if they are already registered and regulated by the Local Authority.

Although scientific advice has reported that it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, it is still vital that food business operators exercise effective hygiene controls, to ensure that food produced is suitable for human consumption and free from contamination#

Delivering Foods

Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. 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. It is recommended to keep distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for business – ‘How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.’ https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/distance-selling-mail-order-and-delivery

Contact Free Delivery

Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, step back at least 1 metre and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.

Where possible take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment.

Hands

Regardless of the availability of hand sanitisers, all food handlers should regularly wash their hand using warm running water, hand soap and drying with disposable towels.

Remember effective hand washing takes time, for a video demonstration, visit the FSA YouTube channel here

Further details on how to effectively wash hand may be found at: https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/sfbb-cleaning-01-hand-washing.pdf

If liquid hand soaps are unavailable, then as a temporary measure you should use alternatives such as soap bars

Allergens

Allergens also need to be considered if food is sold at a distance (e.g. internet sales or home delivery), the allergen information must be provided:

  • Before the purchase of the food is complete (this could be in writing or verbally)
  • In a written format when the food is delivered.

Allergen advice can be found at:

https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/allergen-guidance-for-food-businesses

Think very carefully before providing “allergen free food”. You need to consider whether you can control cross contamination of allergens in your kitchen, click here to download your copy.

Where non-contact delivery is to be made, food should be clearly labelled. Accurate allergen labelling is essential on all food ordered & delivered at the same time as an allergen free meal.

Infection control

Food hygiene regulations require that food handlers are fit for work, you also have a general duty to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.

If you are undertaking deliveries, you need to establish a safe system that allows the customer to request a non-contact delivery. Clear instructions must be given to the delivery driver to ensure that non-contact delivery arrangements are followed in full.

Support for Businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Stay Safe,

The Food Safety Team, Environmental Health, Burnley Council If you require further advice email us at envhealth@burnley.gov.uk