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Coronavirus advice for food businesses wanting to diversify

Food take away service

The Government has released guidance for food businesses on coronavirus.

Preston City Council understands that businesses may look to change their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during this time. 

If you are changing the way you operate your business, or just need clarification on food safety matters, please contact us so we can ensure you are doing this safely. Email us at or telephone 01772 906907

If you do 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.

Additional issues to consider

In addition to the current food safety controls you already have in place these are some additional issues you need to consider:

  • Suppliers - Ensure you continue to use reputable suppliers.
  • Surface disinfectants - Where suitable surface disinfectants are unavailable you must continue to adequately clean any food preparation surfaces and equipment using detergent and hot water. Food Standards Agency - Cleaning effectively
  • Cross contamination - Equipment used for raw and ready to eat foods must be separate if you cannot effectively clean and sanitise in-between uses with a suitable sanitiser due to them being unavailable.
  • 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. Hand washing guidance
  • Temperature control - Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool during transportation. 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 or bag. It is recommended to keep travel distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.
  • Allergens - If you have made any changes to your menu ensure you have reviewed your allergy information. It is also vitally important to protect your customers that you work through this Icon for pdf allergen risk assessment [1.19MB]. There is also a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the Food Standards Agency website. Do not serve people with a food allergy or intolerance if you cannot guarantee that their food has not been contaminated with their specific allergen.
  • 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.
  • 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 to help keep everyone healthy. Although the 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.
  • Takeaways - If available it is recommended that hand sanitiser is provided to customers. If this is not available due to the national shortage, then you should leave the entrance door open and clean and disinfect any potential hand contact surfaces regularly. Orders should be paid for with contactless payment wherever possible, if this is not possible then hands need to be washed thoroughly after handling money.
  • Social distancing during collection of takeaways - We have designed a fact sheet for businesses offering takeaway food - Icon for pdf social distancing advice for takeaways [1.96MB].  The fact sheet contains several posters that we recommend you display in prominent positions throughout your food business if anyone is visiting the premises to collect food.  You should also limit the number of customers who enter the premises to collect food so that the 2 meters social distancing can be adhered to. The social distancing could be achieved with the use of floor markers or similar.  There is also government guidance for social distancing.  For details visit GOV.UK - Guidance on social distancing
  • Infection Control - You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations. 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 with illness or symptoms must report it to a person in charge. Ensure the Government's infection control policy in relation to coronavirus is followed. For details visit our Covid-19 for Workplaces pages.

For more information on how to sell products for takeaway or delivery visit the Food Standards Agency - Distance selling, mail order and delivery.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has written comprehensive guidance for business offering food deliveries and takeaways.

You can also find further guidance by visiting Association of Convenience Stores - home delivery.

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