Coronavirus food business guidance

Our Food & Safety team is still working as normal and if any businesses proving food services have questions or need advice while operating they should get in touch via the following contact details:

Email: ehealth@havant.gov.uk

Telephone: 01730 266551

Reopening your business

The Food Standards Agency has developed a handy checklist to support food businesses in safely reopening during the coronavirus pandemic after a period of inaction.

Advice for food businesses wanting to diversify

Following new Government restrictions placed on public houses, restaurants, cafes etc during the coronavirus pandemic we understand that food businesses may wish to change the way that they operate in order to maintain their business during this time. If you are already registered as a food business with us and wish to change the way you operate your business, or just need clarification on food safety matters then please contact us so that we can ensure that you are doing this safely.

If you are a new food business providing food to members of the public and you have not already registered, then you will need to register with us immediately in order to keep trading.

If you are a food business operating and you wish to change how you currently operate, then you should think through the food safety hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place to provide safe food for your customers. You will need to ensure that the additional hazards (for example cross contamination and temperature control) associated with the business operation are considered.

Things to consider

Suppliers - ensure you continue to use reputable suppliers.

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.

Allergens - information regarding allergens always needs to be considered, but it will differ with sales taking place 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), as well as in a written format when the food is delivered.

Additional information on allergens can be accessed via the Food Standards Agency website.

Temperature control - all food must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat. Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool during transportation. This may mean they 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, that can be kept clean and disinfected.

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.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has provided information on ‘How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery’.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has also provided Food delivery and takeaway guidance.

Contact-free delivery - when customers place an order you need to ask if they are self-isolating, this is so that you limit contact when delivering orders and 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 your customer to collect it.

Infection Control - you have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations and 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 employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately if they experience any illness or symptoms to the food business operator.

Any member of staff who develops symptoms of coronavirus (a new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature) should be sent home and stay at home for 7 days from onset of symptoms. If the member of staff lives in a household where someone else is unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) then they must stay at home in line with the stay at home guidance. Staff who are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should not travel to or attend the workplace. Employees should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. You should also frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products. All policies and procedures in place will need to be updated immediately to reflect this.

The Government has issued guidance on coronavirus for employees and businesses. This is not specific for food businesses, but it does advise that ‘if you have been asked to self-isolate, you can order by phone or online, such as through takeaway services or online shopping deliveries.