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COVID-19: Advice to food businesses who are now offering takeaways

Published: Monday, 23rd March 2020

Are you a food business offering, or planning, to offer takeaways after restaurants were ordered to close? Pendle Council has some advice for you.

“Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that coronavirus (COVID-19) can be spread through food.

“But if you are changing your business model then you should think through the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place,” said Councillor Mohammed Iqbal.

 ·     All food must be delivered to customers in a way that ensures that that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat.

 ·     Food that needs refrigerating must be kept cool while it is being transported. It may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag.

 ·     If you are transporting hot food, it should be kept hot. It may need to be packed in an insulated box. It is recommended to keep distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.

There is lots of useful advice on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website, including how to manage food which may contain allergens – www.fsa.gov.uk

If you are delivering food, you should have a system in place so that customers can tell you if they are self-isolating.

Philip Mousdale, Pendle Council’s Corporate Director, said: “Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy.

“Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking cash payments.

“And leave your delivery at the door, rather than handing it over to customers.

“We’d advise you knock on the door, step back at least two metres and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.”

Food businesses have a responsibility to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulation.

You also have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your employees and members of the public.

Philip added: “Staff must be provided with clear instructions on infection control.

“Anyone who is likely to come into contact with food must report an illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the business owner or manager.”

The Government has issued guidance for employees and businesses on its website – www.gov.uk

Pendle Council’s website shows what help is available for individuals and businesses and how to get the latest health advice about coronavirus – www.pendle.gov.uk/coronavirus

Any changes to Council services are also flagged up on the website – www.pendle.gov.uk/disruptions

These links are regularly updated so please keep checking them.