Coronavirus: Environmental Health Advice

Advice for Community Groups

All food supplied, sold or provided outside of the family / domestic setting is subject to EU food law and must be safe to eat. All food businesses must comply with this, irrespective of whether the operation supplying or selling the food is doing so to make a profit. If you distribute groceries, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidance ‘How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery’ is very useful’.

Infection Control

All those handling packaged food must:

  • Wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using an antibacterial soap and dry their hands on a paper towel or kitchen roll, before beginning work. Please note that suitable hand washing facilities, with warm water, soap and paper towels must be available to ensure this is possible – these facilities being in addition to those associated with WC facilities.
  • Wear appropriate clean clothing to avoid clothing being a source of contamination.  Clothes worn when preparing food should ideally be washed at 60°C or above. A biological laundry product should be used, if fabric cannot be washed at 60°C or above.
  • Not work if they show symptoms of infection, if they do, they should be immediately sent home as per the self-isolation guidance.
  • Follow social distancing measures and maintain 2 metres distance

Food Handling Procedures

  • Food must be managed and handled in a safe way.
  • Before starting, make sure the surfaces that packaged food may come into contact with are cleaned and then disinfected using a suitable sanitiser. Contact time is critical to ensure sanitisers are effective and so please ensure you follow manufacturer’s instructions.  
  • Do not store boxes containing food directly on the floor, to allow adequate cleaning of floors and surfaces.
  • Spot checks should be carried out to ensure that all goods are within the manufacturer’s ‘best before’ date.
  • Labels must be checked for allergen information in case dietary needs are to be met.
  • Make sure that all fridges and freezers are working properly (fridges operating at 5°C or less and -18°C for freezers). 
  • The temperatures of fridges and freezers should be recorded. When taking temperatures place a temperature probe in each fridge / freezer for a couple of minutes and sanitised before and after use.
  • Any raw foods in the fridges and freezers must be physically separated from, i.e. stored below, ready to eat foods such as yoghurt, cheese, milk and cooked meat. This is to minimise the risk of cross contamination.
  • Raw foods should also be kept separate from ready to eat foods during delivery.
  • Chilled or frozen food should be transported in insulated cool boxes with sufficient ice packs to maintain the cold temperature and ensure that food reaches the doorstep at <8°C.

Delivery Drivers

  • The COVID-19 virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to three days, which is why cleaning and disinfection routines throughout the storage, packaging and distribution are critical to minimise its spread
  • Delivery vehicles should be kept clean and tidy to minimise the potential for physical contamination.
  • Drivers should wear clean clothing to avoid clothing being a potential source of contamination.  Ideally clothing should be washed at a temperature 60°C or above. A biological laundry product should be used, if fabric cannot be washed at 60°C or above.
  • Drivers should wash their hands with soap and water on arrival and on returning to the distribution hub.
  • Drivers should be provided with alcohol hand sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 60%. They should use hand sanitiser as they start their distribution run, to avoid cross contamination between the hub facility and customers.
  • No drivers should show symptoms of infection, if they do, they should be immediately sent home as per the self-isolation guidance.

Contact Free Delivery

  • Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.
  • If you are undertaking deliveries to customers who are self-isolating then you should have a system in place where such clients can notify you whether they are self-isolating so that deliveries can be either left outside, or as appropriate for their home.

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