Back to Business: Food Safety
Food Standards Agency: Here to Help
The FSA are offering support and guidance to established and new businesses to help address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign covers Changing your business model; Starting a food business from home; and Reopening your food business. Please see Here to Help.
Information on this page has been taken from the DDC Back to Business Guide v2 (Updated 17 June 2020)
Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have produced a checklist for food businesses reopening during COVID 19:
Chilled and cold room storage
When you went into lockdown, you should have emptied refrigerators, cleaned them and left them open. If they still had food in them, any food left in fridges should be disposed of and not used. Thoroughly clean and disinfect all your fridges and cold rooms, inside and out, don’t forget the door seals. Dry the inside of the fridge or cold room.
Check your freezers; if they are badly iced up, it probably means the door or lid was not properly closed. If freezers are badly iced up, they should be emptied. Place the food in another working freezer, ensuring separation of raw and ready to eat foods. Once defrosted, thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, dry and turn on for 24 hours before being restocked. Any freezers that were left empty should be defrosted, thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, dry and turned on for 24 hours before being restocked.
Prior to starting to use your ice machine, ensure it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, as well as any ice buckets and scoops. Scoops should not be stored in the ice cavity. Store them so they will be maintained in a clean condition away from contamination, at the end of the shift, ensure the scoops are cleaned and disinfected preferably through the glass machine. They should be cleaned frequently throughout the shift.
Food businesses should ensure that any ingredients or raw materials that have passed their use-by date are disposed of appropriately. You should also inspect stocks for damage and/or signs of pest-infestation and check temperature control records if available. You should not use ingredients or raw materials where the integrity of the packaging is not intact or where you are not content that adequate temperature control has been maintained.
Cleaning and disinfection in food businesses
To comply with the general rules for food hygiene, you are required to have in place your own cleaning, disinfection and hygiene procedures as part of your Food Safety Management System (FSMS). This is essential to produce safe food and should reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This includes avoiding tainting and preventing microorganisms from spreading to food.
You should follow guidance on good hygiene practices in food preparation. This should include ensuring that objects and surfaces that are touched regularly are frequently cleaned and disinfected using your regular cleaning products.
Any chemicals used in food establishments to clean and disinfect food contact surfaces and equipment must be approved as food safe. You are advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation and for use, paying particular attention to contact times.
The Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB) for Caterers pack advises food businesses to use disinfectants and sanitisers that meet BS EN standards.
We recommend that the following cleaning steps are taken prior to the preparation of any food:
- Deep clean hand washbasins and sinks
- Deep clean hand contact points (handles, switches etc.) and surfaces
- If equipment or utensils were left uncovered, they must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before use
- Prior to using dishwashers and glasswashers, put on an empty hot wash cycle.
Food Safety Management (FSM)
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
Safer Food Better Business (SFBB)
If your business has changed or introduced new ways of producing or selling food, e.g. takeaway service, you must ensure your food safety management system covers the new ways of working. The daily or weekly records will also need to be checked. You may have new critical controls that need monitoring that you did not have before, for example, temperature checks on takeaway food.
Businesses must make information available for every food item it provides that contain any of the 14 allergens. To meet with the legislation, food businesses providing non-pre-packed food must do the following:
- Have details listed clearly in a prominent place such as on the menu, on the website or provided orally by staff
- If the information is being provided orally, businesses must ensure there is a way for the information to be checked by others and to be given consistently (written records).
- Food being sold at a distance, e.g. telephone order takeaways, the information must be provided before the purchase is complete (either orally or written) and in a written format when the food is delivered.
- Businesses must look carefully at each menu item they are selling/serving, looking at all the ingredients included within that product. Don't forget to think about every component of a food product, down to any oils, sauces or garnishes used.
- If you use pre-packed or pre-prepared foods in a recipe, you will need to obtain information as to the ingredients in that product, e.g. from the label or from communicating with suppliers.
- Keep records as to where information on allergens has come from, e.g. copies of labels/ suppliers' details.
- Review the information regularly, particularly when there is a change of menu or recipe or if a different brand of an ingredient or different supplier is used.
If your business has introduced new food products on its menu, or now provides takeaway, please check to ensure the allergen information is available on these new food products and you are making the information readily available to the customer.
We recommend staff have had refresher training to ensure all staff have the skills and knowledge to work safely. We also recommend that if staff jobs have changed, or you require staff to wear PPE, you should make sure staff have had suitable training. All training should be recorded.
Structure and Maintenance
We would recommend you walk around your business to check for any structure or maintenance issues, to ensure these can be resolved prior to opening your business.
- Run the cold and hot taps on the sinks and wash hand basins - see the section on Legionella.
- Check all electrics and equipment are working efficiently, if works are required ensure these are completed by a competent electrician
- Test your fire alarm system including smoke alarms and emergency lighting and contact your alarm company if there is a problem
- Test your carbon monoxide detector and replace batteries if required
Look for evidence of pests, check existing traps (wear gloves and wash your hands after handling traps and dead pests).
When completing pest checks, you should look for:
- Pest entry points around the edge of the building
- Damaged pest proofing
- Gnawed or damaged structure or products
- Smears or tail marks
If you find any of these, call a pest control company and ask for a visit. If you are not responsible for the outside immediately inform your landlord or management company.
Carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection if pests are found. Do not open the premises whilst there is pest activity on the premises.