As food businesses have recently responded and adapted to Coronavirus restrictions in Australia, many have developed new services such as takeaway, supply of ingredients to make and cook at home, selling groceries, and home delivery. Such fantastic examples of innovation and resilience, responsive in the face of adversity!
Even after restrictions are eased, you may wish to continue these services, but with them come a level of food safety risk, and specific government requirements that must be adhered to for the safety of your customers. Requirements that you may not have been privy to in your original business model.
In light of this, let’s review a few key control measures to have in place to ensure that food is transported safely whilst also minimising customer contact.
Standard 3.2.2 – Australian Food Standards Code – Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
This Standard sets out specific requirements for food businesses to follow to ensure food does not become unsafe or unsuitable, creating a foodborne pathogen risk.
It specifies process control requirements to be satisfied at each step of the food handling process as well as other requirements relating to the cleaning, sanitising, and maintenance of premises and equipment.
- Insulated packaging or packing containers may be used to maintain heat.
- Temperatures of ≥+60°C must be maintained during transport.
- Maintain low temperatures for perishable foods ≤+5°C.
- Refrigerated delivery vehicles or storage in containers with ice packs/coolant gel or cooler bags are recommended and frozen foods must be kept frozen solid.
- Communicate post-delivery storage requirements with your customer.
- Continuous temperature monitoring/recording of vehicles and containers is recommended.
- Packaging should be clean and prevent contamination by dust, dirt etc., and be tamper proof.
- Packaging should maintain the temperature of the food transported.
- Vehicles and packaging should be designated for food or cleaned & sanitised to minimise the risk of contamination.
- Products containing allergens may need to be placed in separate packaging and should be carefully marked/labelled to ensure consumer awareness. Click here for more information.
- Delivery routes are recommended to be kept short to maintain both safety and quality aspects of food transported.
- Ensure standard hygiene practices are in place, ie. Cleaning, cooking, chilling and avoiding cross-contamination.
- Cooler bags and ice packs should be cleaned and sanitised after each delivery.
- Transport vehicles and containers should be cleaned and sanitised on a regular schedule.
- Ensure good hand washing practices and sufficient supply of hand sanitiser.
- Monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms needed.
- If COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed positive, the driver should not be delivering food.
- Person-to-person contact during deliveries at the customer’s premises should be avoided (to prevent possible transmission through direct contact).
- It is recommended to use contactless payment methods to reduce the potential for transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Whilst food is not a likely source of transmission for COVID-19, contact through surfaces could be. By following the above guidelines you are making every effort to keep your employees and customers safe, both from virus transmission and foodborne pathogens.
Mérieux NutriSciences is here to help! If you require any assistance or support with food safety risk assessment of your delivery process, labelling requirements or any food testing inquiries, please feel free to contact us and one of our technical specialists will assist.
For more information, visit www.merieuxnutrisciences.com/au