COVID-19 advice for food businesses
Please see the advice being offered by the Department of Health and Human Services:
- COVID-19 advice for food businesses(PDF, 119KB)
Please find some additional information for food businesses who are providing a home delivery or takeaway service during the non-essential indoor gathering restrictions currently in place throughout Victoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you would be aware this situation is changing rapidly, and it is difficult to keep up to date with the latest information and advice so please ensure you regularly visit the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus (Covid-19) Disease Website
We hope that the following advice assists you with managing your business during this challenging time. The following content includes protection measures to keep you and your workers safe and how to comply with the government’s current restrictions.
Food safety advice
It is important that food businesses maintain good food handling practices at all times. Things to remember are:
Washing hands between handling raw and cooked foods
Avoid cross contamination between raw or undercooked foods and cooked or ready to eat foods in the kitchen
Thorough cooking and proper handling of potentially hazardous foods
All food is used within use-by dates and adequate stock rotation is maintained in the kitchen
Cleaning and sanitising, particularly all food contact surfaces
Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry with paper towel
Taking all practicable measures to prevent food contamination by food handlers
Using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and wash your hands thoroughly after.
Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.
Resources can be found here food safety rules poster and keep hands clean and food safety poster
Take away and home deliveries can be carried out under your existing food registration. Food safety information for transporting/delivering food is available in your food safety program. If you are using the Department of Health and Human Services Food Safety Program for Class 2 retail and food service businesses, no. 1, version 3 this is listed in section 9. Other food safety program templates will have similar information. Refer to your program for detailed information.
In particular, when transporting or delivering food it is important to:
Protect the food from contamination by ensuring the food is sealed in food grade packaging. Ensure vehicles used for deliveries are regularly cleaned.
Maintain the food at a temperature that keeps it safe i.e. minimising time in transit or for longer deliveries consider using eskies and ice for cold deliveries, or thermal insulated bags for hot foods.
Provide relevant information about the food. Take away foods are generally not required to be labelled, however if a customer declares an allergy than ensure you have a system to manage this and associated risks.
Please refer to the latest version of the DHHS food safety program template.
What should a food business do to protect against coronavirus?
Cleaning - If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. More frequent cleaning of shared surfaces, this could include door handles (front door, vehicle doors and other surfaces inside the vehicle that are frequently touched, fridges/freezers, toilets/bathrooms), front servery counter and EFTpos keypad. Increase cleaning regimes for all other areas within the food business. Wash and sanitise all food preparation containers, utensils, chopping boards etc in the dishwasher or as per guidelines in the Food Safety Program. Please refer to the cleaning procedures for different businesses.
Food handler hygiene - Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water and dry with paper towel. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Minimise the risk of cross contamination by avoiding touching areas that have been in direct contact with the customer. Management supervising food handler hygiene practices and implementing training if deficiencies are noted. The Food Safety Program and Food Safety Supervisor are good resources for this information.
Take away process - Implement a procedure to promote social distancing when customers arrive to pick up their orders. Suggestions include placing tape or a physical barrier in front of the counter area to help keep the 1.5m distance between customers and staff. Request that customers don’t congregate in the front servery area and that a 1.5m distance be kept between people at all times. Consider placing markers on the floor 1.5m apart where customers are required to stand whilst waiting for orders. Another option may be to instruct customers to wait outside once their order has been placed maintaining the 1.5m separation from others. Implement a cashless payment system or handle money with gloves or wash hands immediately after handling money. Online payments prior to entering the premises is another good option to minimise interaction. Wherever possible provide hand sanitiser at the cash register to allow staff to use if required.
Home delivery process - Minimise the sharing of cars wherever possible, this could be by allowing staff to use their own vehicle or assigning one staff member to do the home deliveries. If the one car is to be used by multiple staff then implement procedures for cleaning the car surfaces between staff members. Provide hand sanitiser in the car. Implement a cashless payment system (over the internet or payment over the phone). Do not accept cash payments on delivery. If the customer is someone who is quarantined or self-isolating then arrange to drop the meals at the door without any person to person contact (you may wish to implement this procedure for all customers). Delivery drivers need to take extra precautions and ensure that when returning to the food business that they thoroughly wash hands with soap and water and dry with paper towel. The use of an alcohol based hand sanitiser may be used when back in the vehicle.
Notification to management of illness – inform your staff of the responsibility to notify you of them becoming a confirmed case of COVID-19, close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, recent overseas travel or other respiratory related illness. They should also inform you of any other illness that may impact them being a food handler, for example influenza and gastrointestinal related illness. In this instance food handlers should avoid preparing food for other people and seek medical attention if necessary.
Minimise staff contact - You may like to consider forming teams with your staff who work together on the same shift, and do not cross over with other teams working different days. This may mean that if a staff member from one team gets sick and close contacts need to self-isolate, only that group of workers would have to self-isolate, leaving your other teams to continue operating and filling the shifts of the isolated staff. This has not been a guideline provided to us by DHHS, and in the event this happens, DHHS may consider all staff in one business to be close contacts regardless, and direct all staff from the premises to self-isolate – this would ultimately be a DHHS decision, one which Councils will have no input into.
What happens if a food business employee tests positive?
If you start feeling unwell, you can find the most up to date information on the DHHS website.
Where can I find more information?
- National Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080
- Vic Health
- World Health Organisation
- Premier of Victoria
Message from our Business Support Team
If you are making changes to the way you do business, for example currently providing, or transitioning your business to provide a home delivery or takeaway service, the Surf Coast Business support team would like to hear from you. Please complete our survey to update us on your changes to service delivery, opening hours and how customers can contact you.
We will share this information with the Surf Coast community to keep them up to date with their options to practice social distancing and stay at home wherever possible.
This information will be made available via Surf Coast Visitor Information Centres, the Surf Coast Shire Council website, and Surf Coast Business Collective facebook page.