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Food law for businesses - Coronavirus

Advice for businesses on food law:

Changing your business model

Before you consider preparing or delivering any food you must consider the current Scottish Government advice in relation to your own health and that of any people you may have working or volunteering with you.

Food Standards Scotland has published information and guidance in respect of COVID-19 for food business operators and their employees.

You should update your food business details using the food premises registration form to email us and notify us know of the changes to your business model. Please make it clear if you are delivering or distributing food by ticking the 'distribution' box on the form.

Changing your business model to include cook or chill processes and deliveries, will potentially introduce new and additional hazards to your business. In order to ensure that food is produced in a safe manner and therefore is fit for human consumption, you should review your food safety management system to identify potential hazards and implement effective controls.

Please contact your Environmental Health Officer or email environmental@aberdeenshire.gov.uk for further advice.

Allergens

It remains a legal requirement to provide allergen information to consumers at point of sale. This includes businesses now providing takeaway meals, as well as those donating food. Even a tiny trace can cause an allergic reaction, and your business has to manage the risk. Follow these requirements when cooking for people with allergies to help keep your customers safe. It is essential to keep accurate records of ingredient information to hand to provide to anyone who may have specific requirements.

You must provide information at two stages:

  • Prior to point of ordering online menus or verbally
  • At point of delivery - highlight which allergen/s are present in on the pack

Only if you are able to demonstrate to environmental health that you are able to do so, you may make allergen free foods specifically to order. Be aware that businesses are not obliged to offer an allergen free option. If you wish to make allergen free foods please contact environmental health so that we can help you to ensure your products are safe.

Highlight the allergen information on the container, and provide a name where it might not be obvious which dish is which in an order.
View further guidance on how to provide allergen information, including templates which can be downloaded free of charge.

Deliveries

Every effort must be made to minimise contact with individuals out with your household, therefore deliveries should be made ‘contactless’. Whilst in transit, you must make sure that the product is stored correctly – that is chilled products transported between 1 to 5 degrees C. A cool box with ice packs can be used as an alternative to a refrigerated van. When arriving at a property, the delivery driver should minimise contact and stand two metres away from the recipient. Detailed advice on distance selling and delivery has been made available. 

What to do in preparation for re-opening if your food business remains closed

In preparation for re-opening your food business, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have developed online tools and guidance which has been adapted to reflect Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Framework for Decision Making (Scotlands Route Map through and Out of the Crisis). Phase one still permits the trading of ‘food to go’ businesses including those providing a takeaway, delivery or drive through service, as long as social distancing practices are adhered too.

To accompany the guidance, FSS has developed a risk assessment tool (pdf 466KB) to assist food businesses who plan to re-open as lockdown restrictions are relaxed. The tool will also assist those which are already operating to review the steps they have taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 whilst ensuring food safety.

A checklist (pdf 384KB) to ensure that a food business has implemented necessary controls to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 infection has also been devised by Food Standards Scotland. It is recommended that businesses refer to this prior to opening.

Takeaway service

Please view information about restrictions in place for takeaway services in Level 4 areas.

Customers should be encouraged where possible to pre-order their takeaway for collection at a designated time. This will help stagger the arrival of customers and facilitate physical distancing in the premise. To discourage waiting in the premise, you should consider removing furniture from the waiting area.

It is mandatory for customers to wear face coverings within retail settings, including takeaway premises. Customers should wear a face covering unless they are exempt.

Non-cash payment should be encouraged, and staff should place food down and keep a sensible distance from the customer.

The serving area should be regularly sanitised, and staff should wash their hands after each handover.

In accordance with social distancing guidance, you should limit the number of customers inside the shop to maintain the 2-metre distancing requirement. This distance should also be maintained for customers queuing outside the shop. Signage at the door should inform your customers of this requirement and you should mark out queue locations on the floor.