|COVID-19 is a new highly infectious illness that can affect your lungs and airways.
How does the illness spread?
The current scientific research advises it is very unlikely that customers can catch Coronavirus from food. The virus is more likely to be passed on from an infected food handler who is unwell or carrying the virus through respiratory close contact transmission. The virus can also be passed onto surfaces and equipment.
What must I do?
Within your food business, you must ensure that at every stage of your activities such as with deliveries- storage- handling-food preparation-service of customers, you take steps to minimize the spread of infection.
Buying food ingredients from the shop
- When buying foods at shops please follow the specific rules in place;
- Maintain a safe social distance of two metres from all other shoppers and staff;
- Sanitise your hands when you enter the store;
- Only pick up what you intend to buy;
- Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes;
- Make a contactless payment if possible;
- Sanitise your hands when you get in the car;
- Wash your hands when you immediately return from the shop;
- Designate a disinfected area to sort out your shopping;
- Remove outer food packaging and discard, being careful to limit handling of the inner packaging of items such as yoghurts.
- Food packaging has to comply with the law, be clean and suitable for food use;
- If boxes and bags need to keep food hot or cold, then choose appropriate insulated carriers;
- Hot food should be provided to customers at 63°C or above and cold food at 8°C or colder;
- Drivers and or riders must hand wash or sanitise before and after collection;
- You must implement a drop-off system where the order is placed at the customer’s door and contact is made via the bell or phone whilst the driver moves back from the order;
- Social distancing of two metres must be used at all times;
- Drivers should wash their hands on arrival for pick-ups and when returning after deliveries;
- Cashless systems should be implemented.
- You should encourage non-cash payments and designate a low risk area for hand-over of the food;
- Staff handing over food should place it down and keep a sensible distance from the customer;
- This area must be regularly sanitised throughout the day and staff must wash their hands after each handover;
- You must ensure a queue control system is implemented, inside and outside your premises, ensuring the two meter distancing requirement is applied.
Social Distancing for staff
- Staff must stay two metres away from each other at all times;
- Ensure all staff understand what is expected of them and make sure their working area is reviewed and rearranged if necessary to allow this to happen safely.
- Hands must be washed regularly;
- Hands must be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Uniforms are a potential source of transmission;
- Ensure staff wear clean uniforms at all times;
- All uniforms must be washed at temperatures above 60°C or higher, or use a laundry sanitising agent if the fabrics cannot be washed at high temperatures;
- If you are unable to wash items immediately, leave in a sealed bag for at least three days and wash as normal;
- Where staff are washing their uniforms at home, they should ensure they are washed and stored separately from other household laundry;
- Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
- Using a disposable cloth, first clean surfaces with warm soapy water or detergent.
- Increase routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces which include:
- Fridge and freezer handles
- Debit card pin pads
- Door handles
- Screens on self-service checkouts
- Light switches
- Trolley/basket handles. etc.
- Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly-at least every 2 hours.
- Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
- You then need to use a disinfectant to clean the surface.
- Antiviral disinfectants which have been tested to British Standard BS EN 14476:2019 should be used.
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.
- If the above products are not available, then disinfect these surfaces with the products you normally use in your food business, e.g. sanitiser (evidence shows that similar viruses can be deactivated using commonly used disinfectants in the food industry)
- Diluted household bleach is also known to kill similar viruses if appropriate for the surface:
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and use, e.g. gloves/ventilation. .
- Guidance produced recommend a 1:50 dilution of household bleach products which usually have an initial concentration of 5% sodium hypochlorite.
- Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for detergent and disinfectant products. Contact time is the time that the disinfectant/bleach solution must be in contact with the surface. It’s important to follow instructions as wiping them off too soon might clean the surface without properly disinfecting it.
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