Thu 19 Mar 20
Environmental Health is aware of the difficulties that food businesses are presented with during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that this will be having on trade. It is understood that, in response, many food businesses are now considering acting as takeaway and delivery businesses in the immediate term, to continue trading.
In this situation we would offer the following advice, to ensure that you continue to operate safely and that the food you are producing remains safe.
If you are altering your menu and adapting what your producing, you will need to consider if the new dishes present additional hazards, and ensure effective food safety controls are implemented.
For all food deliveries, you need to consider how you will carry this out and ensure some general hygiene controls. For example, ensure the delivery vehicle is clean and tidy, ensure you can prevent potential cross-contamination of food (e.g. food is sealed and raw/ready to eat food is separated) and temperature control is maintained.
Temperature control – whether you are going to be selling hot or cold foods, you must ensure maintenance of the hot or cold chain. This is a critical point and businesses are advised to monitor and record delivery temperatures as part of their food safety system, to demonstrate your control. This can be a diary log or simple check sheet but ensure that the staff involved understand the process and the required temperatures including what to do if these temperatures are outwith limits.
o Hot food must be hot held at 63oC or above. To ensure this will be maintained, you can use insulated bags or boxes.
o Cold food should ideally be kept at fridge temperatures below 8 oC. Again, cool bags and boxes can be used with the addition of ice packs
o It is also advised to limit the length of delivery times. For example, limit the number of ‘drop off’s’ in one run.
Allergens – However you are selling food to consumers, it is a legal requirement to provide accurate information on the allergens present in the food. If food is sold through distance selling, for example through a telephone or online order for a takeaway/delivery, allergen information must be provided at two stages in the process. This means providing it:
o before the purchase of the food is completed - this could be in writing (for example on a website, catalogue or menu) or orally (for example by phone)
o when the food is delivered - this could be in writing (for example on allergen stickers on food or enclosed hard copy of menu) or orally (for example by phone).
The allergen information should be available to a customer in a written form at some point between a customer placing the order and taking delivery of it. Label takeaway meals clearly, so your customers know which dishes are suitable for those with an allergy.
If you require any further advice, please contact the Food & Workplace Safety Team [email protected] outlining your enquiry and giving your contact details.
COVID-19 and food businesses.
The current advice relating to transmission of the virus in food, food handling considerations and some helpful hand hygiene guidance can be found on Food Standards Scotland website: