Finlay Carson MSP

Galloway and West Dumfries

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) INFORMATION- Food Safety Advice for Community, Voluntary and Third Sector Groups

This document has been prepared to assist groups formed quickly to prepare and deliver food as part of the emergency response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

In addition to the information provided below if you have any specific enquiries please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

There is currently no evidence that food is a source of coronavirus and it is very unlikely that it can be transmitted through the consumption of food, according to the European Food Safety Authority.

Answers to some commonly asked questions in relation to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and food can be viewed at:

The main transmission route of the virus is assumed to be direct human to human contact. Health Protection Scotland has published advice on how to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the workplace. This can be accessed using the following link:

Social distancing during collection of food

You should limit the number of people who enter the premises to collect food in order that the 2 metres social distancing can be adhered to. The social distancing could be achieved with the use of floor markers or similar. There is also government guidance for social distancing. For details visit:

Contact-free delivery
When an order is placed you must ask if the individual or family are self isolating, this is so that you limit contact when delivering orders to help keep everyone healthy. If payment is to be made for the food items then a cashless system should be adopted in the interests of hygiene. Leave deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, then step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for it to be collected. The following “House Rules” and the keeping of associated records will, if closely followed, ensure the safe production and delivery of food.


Covid 19 Advice for Food Businesses

Temperature Control House Rules Critical Control Points & Process Steps

Food Collection/Delivery

• Transport/accept frozen food at the specified temperature –18°C or below.

• Transport/accept high risk chilled food at the specified temperature 5°C or below.

• Enter the temperatures on the “All in One” Record.

Storage of Chilled, Frozen and Ambient Food
• Store chilled food at the specified temperature, e.g. 5°C or below.

• Store frozen food at the specified temperature, e.g. temperature –18°C or below.

• Check refrigerator and freezer temperatures once daily.

• Enter the temperatures on the “All in One” Record.

Preparation of Food

• Keep high risk, cooked/ready-to-eat food within the refrigerator until it is required, then prepare/handle without delay.

• Thoroughly defrost all frozen foods prior to cooking (unless specified otherwise by the food manufacturer).

• Ensure preparation is carried out as quickly as possible. Only permit high-risk food to be kept at ambient temperatures for as short a time as possible.


• Food should be cooked to a temperature which is sufficiently high to destroy harmful bacteria.

• Ideally the core temperature of food being cooked should be 75°C or above or you may use an alternative model that includes a suitable temperature and time combination, e.g. 70°C for two minutes.

• A temperature probe should be used to check core temperatures of cooked food.

• Use a visual check to ensure less dense foods, such as bacon, are thoroughly cooked.

• Enter the temperatures on the “All in One” Record.

Hot Holding

• All foods, which are to be held hot prior to service must be kept at or above 63°C. This is a legal requirement.

• Use a temperature probe to check the temperatures of a sample of hot held food during service.

• Enter the temperatures on the “All in One” Record.


• Food should be cooled to a safe temperature as quickly as possible, but within 90 minutes, and then refrigerated.

• Food that is cooling must not be fully covered but must be protected during cooling to prevent contamination. It is safe to put foods into the fridge once the temperature has reached ambient.

• If possible, cool food in small portions or in shallow containers.

• Avoid placing "hot" food in refrigerators.

• Enter the cooling times on the “All in One” Record.


• Reheat food thoroughly until the core temperature is not less than 82°C. This is a legal requirement in Scotland.

• Do not reheat the finished dish more than once.

• Use a food probe to check the core food temperature is 82°C.

• Enter the temperatures on the “All in One” Record.

Service and Delivery

• Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool until immediately before service and during transportation (ideally 5°C or below). Foods being transported may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag.

• High risk foods being served hot must be kept hot (above 63°C) and for as short a time as possible before service. If you are transporting hot food, it may need to be packed in an insulated box or bag. It is recommended to keep travel distances short and times limited to within 30 minutes.

Training House Rules
Food Hygiene Training

Personnel who handle high risk, open food should be given “hygiene awareness” training to include house rules and record keeping (this document can be used as a training tool) and be supervised by a member of staff/volunteer who has completed food hygiene training equivalent to the Elementary Food Hygiene certificate. (Level 2).
Other members of staff or volunteers who are not handling open food should be given instruction appropriate to their duties eg personal hygiene, temperature control, cleaning and disinfection.

Personal Hygiene House Rules

Personal Cleanliness All personnel must maintain high standards of personal hygiene.
Hands must be washed thoroughly, before starting work, before handling food, after using the WC, after handling raw food or waste, after every break, after eating & drinking, after cleaning, after blowing the nose.
Hands must be washed using a recognised effective hand washing technique (see poster over page).
Where taps are hand operated, the tap handles must not become a source of contamination. After hands are washed the taps should be turned off using a disposable paper towel.
Hygienic hand rubs (if available) can be used as an addition to handwashing, they should never be used as a replacement for hand washing.
Regardless of the availability of hand sanitisers, all food handlers must regularly wash their hands using warm running water, hand soap (for at least 20 seconds) and dry them with disposable paper towels.
General Hygiene Rules: • Hair must be tied back and covered. • You must not spit, sneeze or cough over food, • You must not smoke on the premises. • Cuts and sores must be covered with a waterproof highly visible dressing. • Jewellery must be kept to a minimum when preparing and handling food – only a plain wedding band and sleeper earrings are acceptable. • Clean overclothing must be worn whilst preparing food.

Reporting illness

You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations.
Personnel must not handle food if they are suffering from any skin, nose, throat, stomach or bowel trouble as well as infected wounds.
Persons who have been ill with an intestinal infection must not work with food until they have been symptom free for at least 48 hours
In addition, you have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public. Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, any person with illness or symptoms must report it to a person in charge.
Ensure the Government's infection control policy in relation to coronavirus is followed. For details visit:


Effective Hand Washing Technique

Food handlers must be trained and verified as competent in an effective hand washing technique. This is particularly important where there is a risk of cross contamination between raw and ready-toeat-foods. The following steps should always be included:
Rub palm to palm to make a lather.
Rub the backs of the fingers with the opposite palm with the fingers interlocked. Then repeat with the other hand.
Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
Rub backwards and forwards over the palm with clasped fingers. Then repeat with the other hand
Rub the palm of one hand along the back of the other hand and along the fingers. Then Repeat with the other hand.
Clasp and rotate the thumb in the palm of the opposite hand. Then repeat with the other hand.
Wet your hands thoroughly and apply liquid soap*
Rinse off the soap with clean water and dry your hands hygienically with a single use towel* To ensure washed hands do not come into contact with the taps, use single use towel to turn the taps off.

Please note: If after washing, your hands are not visibly clean, then the Hand Washing Technique has not been effective and should be repeated. *These materials are recommended as part of the generic CookSafe approach. Operators may use alternative materials provided they will produce equivalent hygienic outcomes

Cross Contamination Prevention House Rules
Food Storage
• Refrigerated • Frozen
It is essential to ensure that raw foods are placed on the lower shelves of refrigerators and cooked foods at the top. Ensure all foods are properly wrapped in the freezer and refrigerator. Raw and ready to eat foods also be stored separately within the freezer.
Unwashed fruit and vegetables, particularly root vegetables with visible soil on them, and leafy vegetables should be stored separately from ready to eat foods, including salad vegetables.

Defrosting of Raw Meat

Raw meat should be defrosted on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator ensuring enough time is given to permit thorough defrosting. Salad vegetables should not be stored below raw meat

• Utensils • Work Surfaces • Sinks • Cleaning Cloths/ Equipment • Boards • Thermometers • Chefs’ Cloths
Separate equipment and utensils must be used for high and low risk foods. They may be washed together in a dishwasher If you do not have a dishwasher equipment and utensils used for raw meat and unwashed fruit and vegetables must be washed separately from equipment used for ready to eat foods. Complex pieces of equipment which cannot be heat disinfected in a dishwasher, such as food probes, blenders, slicers etc, must not be used for both raw and ready to eat foods.

Sinks must be cleaned and disinfected between washing/ preparing raw meat/unwashed vegetables and washing/preparing ready to eat foods.

Separate work surfaces should be used for raw and cooked food preparation. Where this is not possible surfaces must be cleaned and sanitised between uses using a British Standard compliant (BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697) sanitizer. Ready to Eat foods should not come into direct contact with the worktop which is used as a temporary raw preparation area.

N.B. If you are unable to source a food safe sanitiser as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you must physically separate raw and cooked food areas and equipment and adequately clean any food preparation surfaces and equipment using detergent and hot water. In these circumstances worksurfaces and equipment must never be used for both raw and cooked food preparation.
Disposable cleaning cloths are recommended. Where re-usable cloths are used, separate cloths should be used for cleaning ready to eat preparation areas. Re-useable cloths should be washed on a 90oC cycle

Allergy Awareness Personnel must be aware of the 14 common allergens, and whether any of the foods produced in the kitchen contain them.
Please be aware of hidden allergens for example: • Worcestershire Sauce contains fish • Chopped pork and gravy powder often contain milk • Tomato ketchup and stock cubes often contain celery.
Stick to standard recipes wherever possible.
If in doubt check the labels!

Consider cross contamination risks when preparing allergen free foods. • Do food handlers make sure they have separate or freshly laundered clothes when preparing allergen free foods? • Are food handlers washing their hands prior to preparing allergen free foods? • Are allergen free foods stored separately? • Can they be made first while all the equipment is clean? •

Are you using separate cooking equipment for example a separate fryer for gluten free foods? If you are answering NO to any of these questions then you must consider whether you can safely make these foods.

At the point of ordering, the customer must be asked regarding food allergies, and intolerances and a record of this made on the order form or equivalent. Foods being delivered must be labelled with the name of the food and the allergens contained within.