The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have implemented a practical guide for businesses so they are aware of how to register, re-open and adapt to the way they trade during COVID-19.
During the national lockdown, it is the case that many established food businesses have had to adapt to new ways of operating. Many businesses have expanded into food delivery, takeaway or online sales in order to continue functioning and survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Anecdotal evidence also shows an increase in people cooking from home and selling food locally or online. The FSA have developed a 'Here to Help' guide for small businesses, such as restaurants, takeaways and coffee shops, to make hygiene processes and requirements very clear to them as they develop new ways of working.
The guide has useful advice on a range of issues, such as the provision of allergen information and the distribution of safe food packaging. The guide also contains information for delivery drivers so that they are able to follow food hygiene rules whilst they work. Further, it highlights the legal obligations for anyone selling, cooking, storing, handling, preparing or distributing food, to register their business with their local authority.
The campaign will be supported by a series of case studies featuring small businesses sharing their industry experience. It will give insight into how they have managed the transition to new operating models, as well as the challenges they have faced. Their stories will be highlighted through blogs, podcasts and webinars.
Michael Jackson, Head of Regulatory Compliance at the FSA, has stated as follows:
‘COVID-19 has been an extremely challenging time for the food industry, with many businesses changing the way they trade to survive. It remains really important for businesses to understand the possibility of additional food safety risks as a result of the changes they have made and the steps they must take to protect their customers. Our 'Here to Help' campaign aims to support businesses in getting this right, to ensure consumers continue to have access to food that is safe.’
The FSA’s advice has been clear in that it remains very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and it is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. The FSA are continuing to work closely with industries and other partners to ensure the UK food supply remains safe.
If you are the owner of a business within the food sector and you need advice in relation to complying with the FSA’s requirements, the regulatory lawyers at Stephensons are available to assist you. Our team have specialist experience of advising companies in relation to the FSA’s regulations, as well as representing companies facing enforcement action by the FSA. Please do not hesitate to call our team of experts on 0161 696 6250 for more information.