Due to the current situation, Teignbridge Council understand that businesses may look to change their business model and diversify their food activity during this time.
The following advice is intended as guidance for those businesses wanting to provide takeaways and meals via a delivery service. The advice should be used in conjunction with, and to supplement the business’s own Food Safety Management System, eg, Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) and Public Health England guidance on Coronavirus that can be found on the .gov.uk website (link below).
Please note - If you are not already registered as a food business and you want to provide meals to the local community you must contact the food safety team first on to discuss your intended activity.
Current scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food. However, if you are changing how you usually operate then you need to consider the hazards and ensure that you have adequate controls in place to keep food safe.
Your Food Safety Management System should be updated/enhanced to reflect any changes to your food handling activity, stating how it will be done safely.
Cooking and hot deliveries
Food should not be cooked too far in advance of sale and high risk foods should reach a core temperature of 75oC. Adequate provision needs to be in place to hold foods hot at 63oC or above until it is sent out for delivery. It is good practice to record the core temperature of your cooked high risk food either in your SFBB daily diary or on a separate monitoring sheet to show it has been cooked to a safe temperature. Where hot foods are held for longer than 2 hours, regular monitoring of food temperatures in hot hold will be required.
Where foods are cooled prior to sale this must be done as soon as possible after cooking using the fastest method available (in any case within 2 hours). Information on cooling foods can be found in the safe method section of SFBB
It is strongly advised that food is offered as a hot takeaway service but if you are going to cook and cool foods to be delivered either chilled or frozen, you are strongly advised to contact the food safety team first to discuss how to do this safely.
At the point a customer places an order, staff must enquire whether or not the customer has any allergies that need to be taken into consideration. Any advertising/menu etc should also include an allergen prompt to encourage those with an allergy or intolerance to enquire about allergens.
The allergy information in Safer Food Batter Business (SFBB) should be followed and a decision made whether the particular allergy requirement can be catered for. More information on allergens and their management can be found via the link at the bottom of the page.
Food should be packaged in a disposable, lidded container. This should not be returned by the customer for re-use.
You should provide an adequate number of insulated boxes for delivery to ensure the food arrives to the customer at 63oC or above. The distance and number of deliveries needing to be made will form part of this consideration and it is recommended to keep distances fairly short and times limited to within 30 minutes.
It is strongly suggested that the insulated box is made of a cleanable material such as plastic or similar as this will need to be sanitised on a regular basis. These should be sanitised (both internally and externally) at the start of the day before used for carrying food and after deliveries, and also regularly throughout the day.
Consideration will need to be given to a separate insulated box for cold food deliveries such as cold desserts. Ice packs should be used to ensure cold food arrives at 8oC or below (ideally <5oC). Ice packs should be sanitised along with the insulated box.
Cashless payments should be set up to avoid cash/change payment at the site of delivery – BACS, telephone card payment, or similar is suggested. Hand washing using soap and water must follow all cash handling.
Use of delivery staff/vehicles
You should check that the car insurance of the delivery driver covers business use and that the vehicle is safe. The vehicle should be generally clean and tidy. There should be no smoking in the vehicle.
The delivery driver should be given a basic induction on handling food safely and health monitoring should be in place. Staff need to be checked daily to ensure they aren’t showing Coronavirus symptoms (fever, persistent cough etc). If so, they need to be immediately sent home as per the self-isolation guidance. For non-Coronavirus related illness such as sickness and diarrhoea, the usual 48-hour exclusion applies.
The driver should avoid coming into the main kitchen area and excessive contact with kitchen staff. It is suggested that one of the kitchen staff ‘box up’ the food and place in a low risk area of the kitchen/business ready for the driver to pick up and deliver. The driver should wash their hands with soap and water both on arrival and returning to the kitchen.
If possible, the driver should be provided with alcohol hand sanitiser at 60% + alcohol content as suggested by Public Health England, for use between individual deliveries.
There should be a discussion at the point of order with the customer to find out if they are self-isolating / showing any signs of symptoms. A pre-determined drop off point should be agreed along with information on how the food will be handed over. It is preferable that there is no physical handing over of the food from the driver to the customer and that the driver keeps a distance of at least 6 feet (2 Metres) in line with current guidance. Drivers should not enter the customer’s property in any circumstance.
Consideration needs to be given where a customer does not answer the door as to whether the food will be left or returned. Setting up an approximate time of delivery and contact details such as a telephone number should help minimise this issue.
If you are planning on providing food which customers can collect from your premises, much of the guidance above still applies. You should encourage non-cash payments via telephone, BACS or contactless payments and ensure that the 2m separation zone between customers and staff is observed. Where possible, consider asking customers to wait in their vehicle in the car park for their food and to ring on arrival.
Where this is not possible you should designate a low risk area for handing over food. This should be well away from the kitchen area and at a distance from as many staff as possible. Staff handing over the food should place the food down and keep a sensible distance from the customer. This area should regularly be sanitised throughout the day and staff should wash their hands after each handover.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for business – How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.
Allergens – There is a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the FSA website.
The Government have issued guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses