Diversifying your business to include takeaway and delivery?

In these difficult times you may wish to maintain business continuity and support your community and may want to start supplying takeaway and delivering food. 

Food Safety

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.

This information should help you with compliance with food safety requirements but it is down to you to risk assess your exact set up, implement suitable controls and amend your food safety paperwork accordingly to include your delivery food safety precautions and temperature records.

Your delivery vehicle must be kept clean and in good condition.

Foods must be protected in a way to minimise contamination – close fitting lids on tubs/boxes for example.

You will need to transport the food until the point of delivery at the right temperature – either hot (above 63 °C) or cold (below 8°C).  To do this you will need ‘cool’ boxes/ bags or the plug in electrical ones for the car that can do hot or cold.

Keep hot and cold food in separate ‘cool’ box/bags (i.e.  1 hot and 1 cool boxes). You can pre heat/chill the cool boxes/bags which will extend your delivery potential.                                                                                                                 

How should you check the temperatures of your foods at delivery?           

Best practice would be to carry a dummy/extra meal for the first few days and a probe thermometer to check the dummy meal temperature at different points on your round. You can then work out how far/how long you can maintain temperatures and then limit your deliveries to that zone. DO NOT probe the customer’s food you are delivering after it leaves the premises. It would be best practice to repeat these delivery temperature checks regularly. E.g. weekly with a dummy meal.                                                Recording these temperatures and how you worked out your ‘delivery zone’ in your food safety records is strongly recommended.

If you are going to deliver raw foods (meats/fish etc. you) will need a separate cool box/bag just for this so it does not contaminate any ready to eat foods. If you must use a cool box (NOT A COOL BAG- you can’t clean it well enough) for dual use of raw and ready to eat you need to have a system of two stage cleaning in place to prevent the risk of cross contamination between uses. A:hot soapy water and then B: a BS1276 compliant sanitiser spray.

Menus-paper, Facebook etc..  If you have a specific menu developed for delivery food the law requires you to make people aware how to check your Food Hygiene Rating. To do that the following needs to be added to the promotional material.  The font must be (a)  type size of at least 9 points as measured in font ‘Times New Roman’ not narrowed; and (b) space between text lines of least 3mm.  This is the same for all takeaways.

“Ewch i food.gov.uk/ratings i ganfod sgôr hylendid bwyd ein busnes neu gofynnwch inni beth yw ein sgôr hylendid bwyd wrth archebu. /

Go to food.gov.uk/ratings to find out the food hygiene rating of our business or ask us for our food hygiene rating when you order”.

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.’ ‘https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/distance-selling-mail-order-and-delivery

Allergens

Ask the customer upfront before you take their order would be best practice. Same for any online orders.

You have a legal requirement to provide allergen information for take away foods same as food in your premises. You can do this by labelling the food or ensuring the delivery driver has the information in writing so they can advise any customers. For more information, see the food standards agency site.  

https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/allergen-guidance-for-food-businesses

Infection Control

You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations for example 48 hours no work after stomach bugs.  In addition, you have a general duty to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.

* See most up to date Covid-19 business guidance. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

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.  Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment and ask customers if they are self-isolating so you can take precautions accordingly.

Any queries please do not hesitate to contact me or Environmental Health on 01873 735420 or environmentalhealth@monmouthshire.gov.uk