COVID-19: Food business operators

Newark and Sherwood District Council understands that businesses may look to change their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during this time.

The following advice is for those businesses that are looking to make provision for takeaways and deliveries where they have not done so before.

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 the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place.

A business will only be in a position do this if they are registered as a food business with a Local Authority.
All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat.

Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. This 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. This may need to be packed in an insulated box. It is recommended to keep distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for businesses here.

If you are a food business that has recently started serving takeaway food or making food deliveries you are advised to look at the following advice issued by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Our Environmental Health Officers are available to provide advice and guidance on these ways of working if you need it.

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 1 metre and wait nearby for your customer to collect it. Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment.

Infection Control

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.

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 which can be found here.

However, this is not specific for food businesses, but it does advise that ‘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, make sure you tell the delivery driver that the items are to be left outside, or as appropriate for your home’.

If you are undertaking deliveries, then you should have a system in place to ascertain/develop a system whereby clients can notify the restaurant/delivery drivers whether they are self-isolating so that action can be taken accordingly as highlighted above.

Food Hygiene Rating System

We routinely visit food businesses throughout the district to check that the food they supply is safe to eat. We inspect all fixed food premises, including markets, to a national standard every six months to three years, depending on their risk.

We recommend that you look before you book by checking out the food hygiene rating of where you plan to eat.

Please note manufacturers and some other low risk activities are not included in the scheme.

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Food poisoning

If you would like to report a suspected food borne illness, please contact us.

Food complaints

If you are concerned about the places where you have eaten or purchased food, or feel the hygiene standards need to be better, please contact us.

Food business registration

It is a legal requirement that all new food businesses are registered with the council at least 28 days prior to opening.

Food safety regulations

There are specific requirements under general food law and food hygiene regulations which apply directly to food businesses.

Food safety courses

Our Environmental Health Team is delivering a number of one-day food safety courses over the next few months.

Food Businesses Attending Events

All food businesses attending events may be subject to food safety and hygiene inspections. To minimise disturbance to traders and to make the best use of the Council's resources pre-event planning is essential. All food traders should notify the council using the pre-event questionnaire at least 14 days before the event to allow for checks to be completed.

Healthier Options Takeaway (HOT)Merit

Our Merit scheme for local food businesses which provide healthy options for takeaway meals.

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