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COVID-19 Food Deliveries Advice

As a result of the current COVID-19 issues, we understand that an increasing number of food businesses and Community Groups are now providing hot and cold food deliveries to facilitate their customers and to provide food to vulnerable. We understand regular business has had to adapt in the current situation and so we have put together this guidance document to give you advice on following certain procedures to ensure these activities are carried out safely.

We recommend that:

  • All food should be protected against contamination (i.e. from bacteria, chemicals or physical objects)
  • High risk ready to eat (RTE) foods should be kept covered using lidded containers, cellophane/aluminium foil tightly wrapped over the plate/bowl of food. Food grade disposable containers are recommended if possible.
  • Raw foods, if any, must be kept completely segregated from Ready To Eat foods to ensure harmful bacteria are not transferred onto Ready to Eat foods.
  • Vehicles used for deliveries should be maintained in good condition and clean
  • If packaged foods are delivered in outer containers (insulated boxes/trays/boxes etc) these should be cleaned and disinfected between deliveries
  • Hot foods should be checked to ensure they reach safe temperatures on cooking/reheating (above 750C) and be hot (above 630C) at time of despatch. If you don’t have access to a thermometer, carry out visual check that food is cooked (i.e. ensure meat joints are cooked through at the thickest point, meat juices should run clear and liquids should bubble.) Ideally such foods should be delivered in insulated containers to maintain temperatures if possible and should reach the customer as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours
  • High risk cold foods must be below 80C (ideally below 50C) at time of despatch and should be delivered as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. The use of insulated containers is also advisable for these items
  • Any returned containers should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to re-use. Upon collection such returned items should be placed in a dedicated tray/box for transport back to the business premises.
  • If the customer has advised you that they have a food allergy or intolerance then you must ensure that each item is accompanied with the allergen information and labelled in such a way the customer with an allergy/intolerance can identify their meal.
  • After each delivery staff should sanitise their hands on return to their vehicle and thoroughly wash them on return to the business premises
  • Staff must strive to practice the highest standards of personal hygiene at all times
  • Staff should not enter customers' properties and should keep as far away from customers as is possible when handing over the food. Please follow Government advice on social distancing.
  • If at all possible payment should be collected over the phone or via internet ordering. If this is not possible staff should sanitise their hands after handling customer’s money or other items

Further advice on Covid-19 can be found on the Public Health Agency Website

And further food safety guidance can be found on our Food section  and the Food Standards Agency 

During this difficult time we will continue to support and provide guidance to all businesses providing food. Should you wish to discuss any matter with a member of the Food Team, please do not hesitate to contact us on 028 71 253253 or email [email protected]