COVID-19 Considerations for your food business
The COVID-19 pandemic has had notable impacts to food businesses, City of Newcastle (CN) has developed a Food Safety checklist (PDF) and the following information to assist you during these challenging times. For businesses operating as normal and for those who have adapted their business model this information may assist you in maintaining safe food for your customers. Food businesses reopening after suspending their trade due to COVID-19 should go through the following checks to ensure food safety and hygiene practices are being adhered to.
Download the COVID-19 Food Safety Checklist (PDF)
Health and hygiene requirements
- Do you have enough liquid soap and paper towel? See NSW Food Authority hand washing document (PDF) for more information or watch the World Health Organisation video.
- Do you have suitable gloves/utensils so food handlers do not directly handle ready to eat foods?
- Are staff changing gloves as required? Note - gloves are single use and should be disposed of after each use, see NSW Food Authority food handlers document (PDF).
- Are you ensuring staff with any signs of illness stay home?
- Are you able to comply with the social distancing requirements for both, customers and staff?
- Do you have hand sanitiser available? Note - whilst a hand sanitiser is not a requirement, under the current circumstances it is a good practice to encourage after hand washing and for customer use.
Cleaning and sanitising
It is important to increase the cleaning and sanitising all food contact surfaces, and in addition regularly cleaning and sanitising other high hand contact surfaces including:
- Light switches, fridge handles, doorknobs
- Cash registers, iPads, laptops
- Have you restricted use of mobile phones in the food preparation area? Viruses and bacteria on a phone can be easily transfer onto hands, chopping boards and other work surfaces.
- Avoid handling cash and promote the use of EFTPOS tap and pay. Ensure EFTPOS machines are wiped clean with detergent/sanitiser between customers.
Protection from contamination
- Are single use eating and drinking utensils protected? Have disposable eating and drinking utensils been removed from display and not available for self-serve?
- Are shared condiments e.g. salt, pepper, sugar and sauces restricted to behind the counter for staff to dispense? Single use sachets are recommended.
- Are foods packaged and sealed so they are protected from potential contamination?
- Are delivery drivers aware of their health and hygiene responsibilities?
Continually monitor the advice from the NSW Health website and review your approach regularly. As impacts of COVID-19 continue to evolve you may continually need to consider other ways to operate. Through this challenging time be mindful that changes may involve new food safety requirements and it is important to remember food businesses still have a legal obligation to provide safe and suitable food.
Environmental Health Officers at City of Newcastle continue to be available to help you with any enquires by phoning 02 4974 2000, email email@example.com or online via the Customer Request Form.
Forms, factsheets and guidelines
We have listed a number of resources that you can download or read online for your food business.
Guidelines and requirements