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FOOD SAFETY NEWS

 

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Written by Daniel Brimelow
on April 07, 2020

The changes to how we do business has changed dramatically over the past 3 weeks and many of us have moved from normal business operations to running a takeaway!

In these extraordinary times, I have received several calls for help with hospitality businesses trying to come up with practical ways in which to keep their staff and clients safe!

Here are some new facts:

COVID-19 can live:

  • On plastic for up to 9 hours
  • On hard surfaces up to 72 hours
  • On copper up to 4 hours
  • On Cardboard up to 24 hours

So, in view of this, cleaning is king!
Below is some practical advice for those that are still open.

Some practical advice:

Taking some visible steps is a great approach to assist in reassuring your customers and staff that you are doing everything in your power to maintain a hygienic environment.

 

CLEAN-CLEAN-CLEAN

Clean all surfaces often and visibly including all touch surfaces such as door handles, benches, handrails, benches, chairs and tables. Rule of thumb, if your staff are not doing anything, they should be cleaning something!

Generate a cleaning roster so that staff know what to clean and when.

General cleaning should continue as normal (e.g. using hot water and detergent) and additional cleaning and sanitising of all food contact surfaces is recommended. Regular cleaning and sanitising of frequently touched surfaces such as those listed above should be implemented.

All eating and drinking utensils and food contact surfaces must be clean and sanitised before use.

For sanitising, current advice is that COVID-19 is destroyed by hot water (e.g. by dishwashers operating above 60oC), or by commercial sanitisers normally used (e.g. sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, and 70% ethanol). No change in concentration or exposure times is needed. Follow manufacturers' instructions.

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HYGIENE

Hygiene has never been so prevalent. I mean as hospitality workers and food handlers these practices should have already been part of the norm. Regardless, it never hurts to reinforce correct hygiene protocols. These can include correct hand washing protocols, general hygiene practices such as laundering uniforms in hot water daily, correct use of cleaning and sanitising equipment and use of hand sanitiser etc.

 

COMMUNICATE

Place clear signage around your venue letting customers know what you are doing to keep them safe. See example attached called “Staff Hygiene Procedures”

Place notices up on the front door asking customers not to enter if they have cold of flu like symptoms.

Generate a COVID-19 Staff Protocol to clearly communicate with staff what your expectations are regarding them, including reporting requirements for illness or possible exposure.

Update your Web Page to clearly detail what you are doing to maintain your venue, including cleaning provisions, social distancing initiatives, contactless handover etc.

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UPDATES

This situation is moving fast and changes in the rules are occurring everyday. It is important that not only you keep up to date with these changes, but you pass these along to staff and customers.

See below links to reliable resources:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

There is an COVID-19 App available in both the Android and IOS App Stores.

Search for "COVID-19"

 

PLANNING

Planning has never been more essential. You really need to look at your business and be ready to pivot in changing circumstances. This planning should include both best- and worst-case scenarios. You should seriously consider what steps you will need to take if you are required to shut down and also plan for returning to business as usual.

Also look at adjusting your menus to suit a takeaway and delivery model, some meals just don’t travel well. Need take away supplies, find some pamphlets here for suppliers.

 

TRAINING

Train your staff in your COVD-19 protocols, new hygiene protocols, cleaning protocols and contactless delivery and supply provisions. Also take them through any social distancing provisions installed in the workplace to ensure these are clearly understood and are adhered to.

Also train staff in what COVID-19 Symptoms are.

 

HYGIENE ETIQUETTE

This involves practices that prevent the spread of illness and disease. A critical time to practice good hygiene etiquette is when you are sick, especially when coughing or sneezing.

  • If you have a cough, use a tissue or hanky to cough or sneeze into. If these are not available, do this into the crook of your arm or upper sleeve. Wash hands after!
  • Wash hands before and after eating and going to the toilet.
  • Use hand sanitiser regularly, particularly after touching public surfaces,
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with other such as hand shaking.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and nose after touching surfaces unless you wash your hands first.
  • Regularly clean contact surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes or spray Glen 20 or similar

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS TALK TO A DOCTOR, DON’T COME TO WORK

 

FOOD SAFETY

As always food safety should be at the top of your priority list.

Key points:

  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food.
  • Extra care should be taken with hygiene and health to reduce the risk.
  • Anyone with suspected symptoms of respiratory illness should avoid preparing food for other people.
  • Businesses need to follow any social distancing requirements requested by the Australian Government.

It's important for food businesses to be extra vigilant with all aspects of health and hygiene, to ensure no-one contaminates the surfaces in your food service or processing environment because of illness or unclean habits.

Consistent good hygienic food handling practices and thorough cooking for cooked products will minimise the risk of transmission and meet food safety requirements.

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Wow we have had this aspect drilled into us! Again, stay 1.5M away from others. To enforce this for customers, place tape crosses on your floors letting people know where they can stand.

Structure staff work areas, so they are as far from each other as is reasonably practicable.

Use contactless payment methods and visibly clean Eftpos terminals after each use with a clean cloth sprayed with sanitiser.

 

VENUE LAYOUT

Remove all furniture from use. Place away all salt and pepper shakers and the like to remove the risk of these becoming contact services. Remove all communal water stations, cutlery and condiment stations and provide these to each customer at the point of sale.

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FOOD DELIVERY

Look at using Menulog, Uber eats or your own staff to deliver food directly to your customers.

 


 

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