How to set up food takeaway and delivery services safely
Ensure that you have the correct permissions
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Government has relaxed planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as a takeaway for a limited time. By law, you must also notify your local environmental health department if you have substantially changed the nature of your operation.
Provide accurate allergen information when taking orders
By law, allergen information must be available at the point of ordering:
- Ensure allergen information for all your products (or details of how it can be obtained) is on your website for online orders.
- If it is not possible to prevent cross-contact with allergen containing foods, include a similar message to this on your website: “If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please let us know so that we can help you choose. As allergens are present in our kitchen and some of our ingredients have ‘may contain’ warnings, we cannot guarantee menu items will be completely free from allergens”.
- If taking orders by phone, make sure the order taker has food allergen training and access to accurate allergen information.
- Order takers should ask customers if anyone has food allergies. If they do, order takers should check the allergen information to make sure the food ordered does not contain the relevant allergen(s).
- If it is not possible to prevent cross-contact with allergen containing foods, order takers should use this or a similar phrase: “As allergens are present in our kitchen and some of our ingredients have ‘may contain’ warnings, we cannot guarantee menu items will be completely free from allergens”.
Use suitable packaging materials and sanitised delivery boxes
- Only use disposable packaging and ensure that it is approved for food use.
- Do not re-use any returned disposable packaging.
- Only use insulated delivery boxes/bags and ice packs that are easy to clean and sanitise.
- Clean and sanitise the inside and outside of delivery boxes/bags between journeys.
Keep a safe distance from customers and delivery drivers
- Display signage explaining your safe distancing rules at the entrance (and on your website).
- Only take telephone or online orders.
- Avoid taking cash and encourage contactless or card payments over the phone.
- Erect a perspex screen to separate staff and customers at the pick up point.
- Specify a pick-up time and restrict number on site at one time.
- Provide hand sanitising rub at the entrance to the building and encourage its use.
- Delivery drivers should set the food down at the customers door, knock and move back 2 metres.
Provide accurate allergen information when delivering foods
By law, allergen information must also be available at the point of delivery:
- Insert a flyer with allergen information (or details of how it can be obtained) for all products.
- Include on the flyer a statement regarding any allergen cross-contact risks
- Label each product with the name of the food.
- Products prepared for allergy sufferers should be highlighted so that they receive the correct one.
Deliver foods at safe temperatures
- Delivery drivers should place the food into the delivery box/bag immediately.
- Deliver cold foods at or below 8ºC and hot foods at or above 63◦C.
- If the journey time is more than 30 minutes, use a refrigerated van or insulated containers proven to keep foods at the correct temperature.
- Insert a flyer advising customers to put chilled food in the fridge, hot food in an oven unless served straightaway and to eat the food on the day of purchase.
Fully label pre-packaged foods
If food to be delivered has been pre-packaged in advance (and not at the time of the customer order), full product labelling is required – much like what you would see on a retail product:
- The name of the food (customary, legal or descriptive)
- The percentage of certain ingredients
- An ingredients list with any specified allergens contained (in a different format)
- Any additives contained
- If it contains a genetically modified ingredient
- If any of the ingredients have been irradiated
- The nutritional content
- The weight, volume or quantity
- Use by or best before date
- A batch or lot number
- Name and address of business
- Place of origin if omission could mislead
- Any special storage instructions
- Any instructions for use such as cooking/reheat instructions
- Food specific requirements e.g. warnings
We can provide advice and check that your food labels are compliant.
Update your food safety procedures
- Review and amend your documented food safety management system if there are any new processes that are not covered.
- Review and amend your due diligence diary checks to ensure that all critical control points are monitored and recorded.