How takeaway services impact food safety
New Stage Four restrictions have forced many food businesses to reconsider the way that they operate in order to survive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions imposed in the interest of the public health have required cafes and restaurants to cease dine-in operations and transition to takeaway only services. A part of this transition requires food businesses to take the necessary precautions to ensure that meals remain safe throughout the preparation and delivery process. We’re taking a look at measures that can be implemented by food businesses to keep takeaway food safe under these new circumstances:
Increase food safety standards in the kitchen
Food businesses should be taking additional precautionary measures during this time to ensure that staff and patrons are protected, and that takeaway food remains safe. Firstly, staff should be encouraged to avoid coming to work if they are unwell. This will reduce the risk of a large proportion of the staff getting sick causing the business to temporarily close, and also eliminate the risk of any contamination to the kitchen and food itself. Food businesses should also increase the frequency of deep cleans within the restaurant and collection area. Any surfaces which are likely to be touched several times throughout the day such as serving counters, taps, stainless steel work surfaces and utensils should be regularly sanitised using a product containing at least 60% alcohol to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses around the kitchen. Staff should also be encouraged to wash or sanitise their hands regularly and keep good personal hygiene. Food safety posters can be placed around the kitchen to remind staff of the correct hand washing techniques.
Keep meals safe throughout the delivery process
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) state that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, there is also little evidence that it can be transmitted through food packaging. However, to minimise risk, food businesses should store takeaway food in cardboard containers as studies have shown that COVID-19 is unlikely to survive for long periods of time on these porous surfaces.
As takeaway services are increased, food business owners should remember that they are ultimately responsible for the safety of their food from preparation to consumption, food label stickers should be utilised to provide guidelines for safe consumption in the home. Food labels and food label stickers can advise customers on cooling and reheating food in their homes to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses. Food labels and food label stickers detailing allergens which may be present in the meal should also be used as an additional precaution.
Encourage delivery drivers to practice good personal hygiene
With the rise of delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, delivery drivers rarely work for one food business anymore, meaning that through the course of the day, they may be in contact with several people as they carry out delivery services. Food businesses should encourage delivery drivers to keep good personal hygiene by asking that they use hand sanitiser before entering the restaurant and wear a mask on the premises. Social distancing policies should also be maintained on the premises. Food that is ready for pick-up should be placed on a designated counter prior to collection by drivers or customers to avoid hand-to-hand contact during the collection process. Delivery drivers should be reminded that food should be left at the customer’s door so as to maintain a safe distance between themselves and an individual who may be vulnerable to the virus.
Fildes Food Safety supplies an extensive range of commercial kitchen and personal protection products designed to help chefs and kitchen managers implement efficient and sustainable food safety processes including food labels, food safety posters, face masks and a range of cleaning and sanitisation products. Get in touch or visit our website to place an order.