Since Covid-19 more businesses have become interested in carrying out food deliveries; including the provision of hot meals. Demand for delivery services has grown massively; even traditional services such as those provided by “milk-men” have received a surge in new customers. If you are thinking of adapting your business to include food delivery and have not previously provided this service you may find this information on food deliveries and food safety useful.
Changes to the Operation
If you were previosuly a retailer and not involved in the preparation of open or hot food it may be that you need to adapt your premises and food rooms in order to become compliant with food law before carrying out this activity. You will also need to reconsider and review food safety management systems and procedures. Suitable training and instruction will need to be provided to staff.
Many businesses already take orders by telephone, web or via 3rd party digital platforms. Allergen information is an important issue to many consumers and you must ensure that you comply with food information rules. When ordering food customers must be able to access allergen information; this can either be provided in writing or orally when customers telephone. Clear communication is key in understanding customer needs and, of course, ingredient information must be accurate.
When the food is prepared for delivery it is important that cross-contamination does not take place. Clean single-use food-grade containers may be used for providing food. Each item should be labelled clearly so that customers are able to distinguish between different food items.
Whether you are delivering cold or hot food temperature controls are important for maintaining food safety and customer enjoyment. Monitoring will be necessary if transporting chilled or frozen items for any length of time. However, short periods outside of temperature control are permitted for very quick journeys. Long journeys or multiple stops will require refrigerated vehicles if transporting chilled food items.
Protecting from Contamination
Food boxes and transport must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. They should be maintained in an upright position to prevent spillages. Tamper-proof seals should protect outer packaging (such as paper bags) from any potential contamination.
Regular cleaning, disinfection and hand-washing is incredibly important. If you are using personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves it is also important that these are used correctly and that they do not, themselves, become a source of contamination. The best way in which food handlers can maintain good personal hygiene is by frequently washing their hands. Gloves are no substitute for regular hand washing.