- Keeping business going: Assess what can be done remotely and what must be done on-site Identify critical roles and where possible replicate competencies.
- Adapt and survive: Self-isolation or sickness may mean an influx of temporary staff and increased churn rates – use effective training for temporary staff.
- Use your existing systems to manage risk and change effectively: Food Safety Management System, Food Safety Culture, Risk assessments, change protocols, food safety and Health and Safety.
New Things to Consider
- Protect your employees: Stay physically safe if remote working is required; review safe working systems. Staff sickness – use return to work following sickness protocols but adapt them for COVID-19 refer to WHO for isolation and timing. Review regularly when advice is updated from Government and/or WHO
- Keep your employees’ family safe: Maintain/set up hygiene junctions entering and leaving work.
- Social Distancing may not work in the production environment: different ways of working may have to be introduced, assume everyone is a symptomless carrier. Use PPE as required and put in place effective robing and disrobing protocols.
- Minimising cross-contamination: Compartmentalizing workforce into discrete zones will help minimise spread across zones risks if staff contract COVID-19. Colour coded staff zoning procedures – hairnets/hats, aprons, armbands may be useful visual aids. Treat as if it’s an allergen, each zone a fresh allergen.
- Control visitors: Audits and visitors – avoid unless absolutely essential as staff shortages may be occurring, particularly due to site contamination risk.
- Don’t forget allergens: You may have to change suppliers due to material supply disruption. The same supplier may supply the same ingredient, but from a different site – review the allergen profile for the new site or supplier
- Don’t forget food fraud and counterfeiting. Use TACCP/VACCP to review as required?
- Don’t forget food safety: A reduction in Stock Keeping Units could lead to increased Raw Materials demand, cleaning protocols, process intermediates, equipment/containers. Beware long production runs between cleans leading to a build-up of slow grow/biofilm-producing pathogens - Listeria, Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Clostridium, and their spoilage variants, and spoilers like yeasts, moulds, Pseudomonas and lactics. Introduce break changes in sanitary protocols as identified by risk assessment.
COVID-19 Cleaning and Sanitation
- Always clean surfaces (remove debris and dirt) prior to the application of a suitable disinfectant
- Bear in mind that some classes of disinfectant chemical may need rinsing after application prior to the surface coming into contact with food.
- With specific regard to the control of novel Coronavirus, common touchpoints must also be risk assessed and considered as well as food contact surfaces.
See these guides for further practical advice:
- SOFHT Guide to Cleaning and Disinfection Regime With Regard to novel Coronavirus
- Aqualution Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – Aqualution, Effective Prevention and Control
- RSC How to kill coronavirus
- RSC How to test for coronavirus
- BRCGS guidance on social distancing in warehouses and distribution centres
- WHO food safety guidance for food businesses
- Public Health England Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)
- UK Gov guide on PPE for healthcare and non-healthcare settings
- Food Safety Authority of Ireland
- UK Government advice on COVID-19 implications for safety in the workplace
- European Commission Q&As on COVID-19
- EFSA Guidance
- FDA Coronavirus guidance
General GMP Advice
- FDF COVID 19 advice
- Northern Ireland Food & Drink Industry Good Manufacturing Practice COVID-19 Advice
- UK Hospitality advice for the hospitality industry
Food Safety Certification
CIEH Guidance | www.cieh.org
- COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
- COVID-19: shipping and seaports guidance
- COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local government
- ESGLI Guidance for managing Legionella in building water systems during the COVID-19 pandemic
FREE Training On-line
- FSA E-learning for staff on allergens, labelling, traceability, vacuum packing and root cause analysis
on labelling https://labellingtraining.food.gov.uk/
on traceability https://traceabilitytraining.food.gov.uk/
on allergens https://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/english/
on vacuum packing https://vacuumpackingtraining.food.gov.uk/introduction/
on root cause analysis https://rcatraining.food.gov.uk/#home
- FSA training videos on 4C’s - hand washing, cross-contamination, clean, cook, chill
- Highfields Free COVID-19 training https://www.highfieldelearning.com/covid-19
- Future Learn COVID-19 courses
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control COVID-19 courses