Food safety guidelines for delivering food
Due to the current situation, unfortunately, as you might know, many Restaurants had to close for an unknown period of time, and other restaurants have decided to remain open offering a Food Order service.
What is your current situation? Are you planning to open your Restaurant to offer a Food Ordering service? If the answer is YES you must keep reading!
Either it will be a Delivery or Takeaway both services must have and keep high food hygiene standards. These standards must always be respected by Restaurants but during this hard and unwanted moment, we need to ensure customers that you are taking action in implementing an excellent food hygiene service!
Besides the high food hygiene standards, there is another important element to consider when a Restaurant is delivering food which is to provide clear information regarding the allergens contained in a certain meal!
The restaurant’s online menu needs to provide a description of the item, the price, and most important all relevant allergen information. Either if it is an allergens form or a statement on the website, it is fundamental to advise customers where they can obtain allergen information before they place their order. Staff should be aware of how to take orders with specific allergy requirements and also they should have clear written allergen information to refer to in order to respond to allergy requests accurately when taking orders!
The Hygiene guidance that you will need for food delivery service
There are four main things (4Cs) that Restaurants need to implement for good hygiene:
- Clean and disinfect food areas and equipment, especially after handling raw food
- Cleaning utensils before each usage
- Use cleaning and disinfection products that should meet the BS EN standards
- Most types of meat should be cooked as there could be harmful bacteria
- Respect Cooking Temperatures
- Keep the Food hot
- If you reheat food it has to be done properly to kill harmful bacteria that may have grown since the food was cooked
- Store food in sealed containers and at the correct temperature it will protect it from harmful bacteria
- Chilling food properly helps to stop harmful bacteria from growing
- When serving or displaying cold foods, it can be kept outside the fridge for up to 4 hours
- In the UK a legal requirement imposing that cold food must be kept at 8˚C or below
4. Avoid Cross-Contamination:
Remember Cross-contamination is one of the most common causes of food poisoning!
There are different actions to prevent cross-contamination:
- If you use the same board and knife to chop raw food you must wash and disinfect them thoroughly or better to use different equipment
- Wash your hands regularly but especially after touching raw food, otherwise, you can spread bacteria to the other things and keep raw food separate
- Keep ingredients that contain allergens separate from other ingredients
- Always clean and disinfect work surfaces
Restaurants need to review and update their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedure before starting to deliver food to customers. This is a practical guide that indicates how to manage hygiene and allergens in the kitchen.
Allergen guidance for your Food Delivery
It is crucial for Restaurants to tell customers if the food they provide contains any of the specified allergens as an ingredient. There are 14 main allergens that are the most used and the most dangerous. Other customers may be allergic or intolerant to other ingredients, but legally you are required to provide information just for these 14 allergens.
The 14 allergens are:
- Cereals containing gluten – including barley, oats, wheat, and rye
- Crustaceans – prawns, crabs, and lobsters
- Molluscs – mussels and oysters
- Sesame seeds
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million
- Tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, and macadamia nuts
It is very important, especially If food is sold online or by phone, to provide allergen information at two different stages in the order process. Restaurants must provide allergen information:
1. Before the purchase of the food is finalized – this can be indicated in writing on the website, or on the menu) or orally by the phone
2. When the food is delivered – this can be indicated in writing through allergen stickers on food or an enclosed copy of a menu
Delivering food in a safe way
Especially during this period, all the meals must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat! Restaurants must keep and act with different actions:
- Food that needs refrigeration must be kept cool while being transported.
This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag.
- Restaurants should identify and remove possible cross-contamination risks in the delivery process. The packaging meals need to be securely and it is important to keep allergen-free meals separately in transit to avoid contamination through any spills.
- If an allergen-free meal has been requested for the order, it should be clear when delivered which container it is in. Restaurants can use stickers or a note on the container to label each meal.
Food Ordering White-Label Platform for Restaurants
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