Food premises that are currently closed due to COVID-19
If you are one of the many businesses that have been forced, or have chosen, to close, there are some simple guidelines that you may need to consider to ensure your premises is left in a safe and hygienic condition.
Removing perishable food
- It is likely that your premises could be closed for some time therefore it is advisable to remove all perishable food from the premises. This is to prevent food deterioration and spoilage and reduce the risk of attracting pests onto your premises.
- Fridges should be emptied of all perishable food items and where necessary/possible should be switched off and left with the door open to prevent unwanted odours. This is an excellent opportunity to defrost your fridges and maybe some freezers.
- Check the dates on longer life food items to ensure a long enough shelf life is left for the food to be used safely.
- You should store any food packets in plastic lidded containers or other suitable pest proof containers to reduce the risk of this being a food source for potential pests.
- Many of the food items could be frozen down to prevent spoilage and wastage.
Freezing down food
- Many foods can be frozen down including milk, yoghurt, fish, meats, cheese etc. providing they are frozen down before the expiry of the use by or best before date.
- Please ensure all items are securely wrapped in food grade wrappings or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
- If you are freezing down milk ensure that only milk in plastic cartons is frozen and as liquids expand you may need to pour a small quantity out to avoid cartons bursting.
- Items should be labelled with a date of freezing to assist with effective stock rotation and to demonstrate that they have been frozen down before the expiry of its use by or best before date.
If the premises are left undisturbed for a long period this could leave the premises at more risk from unwanted pest activity.
If you have a current pest control contract try to ensure that your contractor can still have access to the premises to treat and provide any proofing advice / recommendations.
If you do not have a pest control contract please ensure that you visit your premises during this time to check that there are no current pest issues and take appropriate action where necessary.
Record your actions in your Food Safety Management system such as your SFBB diary.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have a YouTube Pest Control video giving further guidance.
Taking care of those outstanding jobs
Although your business is closed, it may be a good opportunity to undertake repair works or deep cleaning tasks that are difficult to undertake whilst the business is operating.
You can also arrange for essential maintenance of equipment such as gas inspections, electrical inspections or cleaning of the extract ventilation.
Health, Safety and Infection Control
You should undertake a Health and Safety Risk Assessment.
Ensure that you turn off and isolate gas appliances, electrical equipment and the water supply. This reduces the chances of any accidents occurring (Fire, flooding etc) whilst the premises isn't being used.
Staff and contractors should adhere to Social Distancing Guidelines and follow the Safe Systems of Work you've put in place, specified ion your risk assessment.
For further help and advice please contact us on 01772 906907 or via email on email@example.com.