Coronavirus- Covid-19 and your food business
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Reigate and Banstead Borough Council understands as a food business you are undoubtedly facing many challenges at this time and that some businesses may look to change their typical business type and diversify in order to maintain their business. The Food Safety Team wish to support you with this and we have put together some guidance to keep you and your customers safe. The following advice is for those businesses that are looking to make provision for take-aways and deliveries where they have not done so before.
Current scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food, but, if you are changing how you are used to operating then you should think through any new hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place to eliminate the risks or reduce the likelihood of their occurrence to the lowest level achievable.
Any business in our Borough will only be able to do this if they are already registered as a food business with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.
If your food business is registered, then you do not need to inform us of the change. However, you will need to review your HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) to ensure that the additional steps in your operations for example takeaway, transport and delivery are looked at to identify new food safety hazards i.e. physical, chemical and microbiological hazards associated with this change in operation. This analysis should be documented in your existing policy.
Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. Aim to keep them below 8°C. They may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel/ice blocks or in a cool bag. If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot, ideally above 63°C. This may need to be packed in an insulated box and it is recommended to limit travel times to within 30 minutes.
Temperature control is a critical control point to prevent the growth of food poisoning bacteria in food. As part of your food safety management system, monitoring is needed throughout the day e.g. using a digital temperature probe. All monitoring checks should be recorded, and records should be kept available for inspection at all time. All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat.
All food handlers and service staff need to know how to deal with face to face and telephone enquiries about ingredients and possible allergen contamination.
If someone asks if a menu item contains a certain food, check all the ingredients (and what they contain), as well as what you use to prepare or cook the item. Always read labels and other information; never guess.
If you are not sure that the dish does not contain the allergen in question, tell the customer just that. They can then decide whether to purchase or eat the food. Refer to the Food Standards Agency for more information.
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. The Government has published Covid-19 guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home.
Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, and any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator.
The Government have issued guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses. It advises: ‘if you have been asked to self-isolate, you can order by phone or online, such as through takeaway services or online shopping deliveries. However, please make sure you tell the delivery driver that the items are to be left outside, or as appropriate for your home’.
- Find out how the Council is continuing to support local businesses.
- Information about Covid-19 and Council services.
- Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) (GOV.UK website).