During these very difficult times of COVID-19, safety within any industry is vitally important, especially food handling.

According to the government guidance, after restarting during these times as a food business, you must update your Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures.

You must:

Upon returning to work, you must also undertake a COVID-19 specific risk assessment to ensure your business has assessed and can control any COVID-19 risks apparent.

All staff should be fit to work and should understand your fitness to work policy. If any members of staff are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should immediately follow the current government guidance.

 

Food Safety Tips

 

Reusable Customer Containers

 

Thorough Cleaning Of The Premises and Equipment

 

Cleaning and Disinfection

 

Cleaning If Regular Products Are Unavailable

You should seek approved, food-safe alternatives with equivalent and effective properties if your regular cleaning and disinfecting products are not available.

When cleaning, you must ensure:

    1. The manufacturer’s instructions on use are followed, including using appropriate dilution rates and contact times.
    2. The health and safety of staff is considered. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on the use of chemicals in the workplace.
    3. The suitability of the chemicals for the surfaces to be cleaned and disinfected.

If alternative disinfectant products are not available, the food business may wish to consider using heat as a critical control point, such as using a dishwasher, or submerging equipment into boiling water.

 

Managing Stock

      • Ensure any ingredients/raw materials that have passed their use by date, are disposed appropriately.
      • Inspect stock for damages, pest infection, and check temperature control records (if available).

Do not use ingredients or raw materials where the packaging is not intact, or you are not content that adequate temperature has been controlled.

 

 

Staff Training

All food business operators must ensure food handlers receive appropriate food hygiene training and supervision. You should reconsider training needs for your staff including changes made to procedures, recipes, and other hygiene measures.

 

Personal Protective Equipment: PPE for COVID 19

      • PPE can be for the protection of workers and to prevent contamination of food.
      • Continue to ensure the PPE set out in your Food Safety Management System (FSMS) and your H&S at work policies are still being used.
      • Stress to your employees the importance of frequent hand-washing and maintaining good hygiene practices in food preparation and handling areas.
      • Employees should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public areas, blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing.
      • Employees should also ensure objects and surfaces that are frequently touched are frequently cleaned using disinfectant.
      • A glove-use policy may be implemented but the wearing of gloves by people handling food is not a legal requirement.
      • Gloves can still be contaminated by the virus, in the same way that workers’ hands can become contaminated.
      • Therefore, gloves should be used as an additional protective measure, not as a substitute for workers washing their hands. If gloves are used, they should be changed as frequently as a worker would wash their hands, and hands should be washed when changing or removing gloves. Workers should avoid touching their face when wearing gloves and they must be changed after carrying out non food related activities such as opening doors or touching money.
      • Face masks may be needed in situations where you need to protect high risk foods, or where workers may be exposed to airborne risks. A policy should be in place for the use of face masks. Social distancing guidance should still be considered.

 

Face Coverings

      • Appropriate procedures should be in place to handle, store and dispose of face coverings that staff choose to wear to travel to work.
      • An adaption of the businesses work wear policy should be considered, to help staff who like the option of wearing face coverings to work, to do so safely.
      • Employers should support their staff who choose to wear face coverings. However, during a risk assessment being undertaken, it may identify that a face covering in a food environment is not appropriate for food and safety reasons. Alternative measures to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission must be put in place and the reasons for not allowing face covering should be clearly explained to your employees.
      • The government has published guidance for businesses on wearing face coverings.

 

Social Distancing

 

For Further Information on Food Safety During COVID 19

We hope that this round-up style article provided value and will help you with ensuring food safety guidelines are followed correctly. If you have any more questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact our health and safety consultants via our online contact form or live chat.

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