Covid 19 - Updated Guidance for Food Businesses

24 May

On the 21st of May an updated Guidance was issued to food businesses.- COVID-19: guidance for food businesses

This has broad application being relevant to all workplaces involved in the manufacturing, processing, warehousing, picking, packaging, retailing and service of food. It looks to best practice within the back of house areas as opposed to how to deal with the public, which recent updates have focused on.

It recommends various steps including the following list:

  • Consider staggering shift starting times to minimise crowding at entry points.
  • Ensure social distancing of 2 metres, if possible, while awaiting entry – and if not, ensure maximum feasible social distancing is practised.
  • Hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser should be available at all entry points to the workplace and throughout the workplace. Hand hygiene stations should be checked regularly and supplies replenished.
  • Hand hygiene should be promoted at break times and between shifts. Notices should be placed to reinforce this. Consider designating managers or senior staff to act as visible marshals to supervise entry points.
  • Limit opportunities for contact between staff permanently based at the workplace and transient staff such as hauliers, transport staff and contractors. Further information and guidance can be found in Working safely during COVID-19.
  • Limit unnecessary visits to the site.
  • Ensure staff are dressed in an agreed and approved manner – any personal protective equipment (PPE), work wear or face coverings issued and/or approved by you should not introduce a hazard to food safety. The selection of appropriate PPE and work wear is the employer’s responsibility and representatives and workers should be consulted on selection.
  • Respiratory hygiene should be promoted at all times. This means coughing and/or sneezing into a tissue and disposing of it immediately or coughing and/or sneezing into the crook of the elbow followed by hand washing.
  • Display information in appropriate languages throughout the workplace.
  • Consider use of CCTV as an aid to assist with monitoring compliance with social distancing and hygiene measures, including in communal areas outside the main workspace.

We would suggest that if you elect to adopt the last recommendation consultation and consent from the workforce in advance would be prudent.

Law correct at the date of publication.
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