NSW Food Authority Provides COVID-19 Guidelines for Food Businesses

March 27, 2020

An email was sent out to all food businesses across the state by the NSW Food Authority. This email was to inform food businesses of their newly released guidelines on how navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

The guidelines discuss the food safety effects from COVID-19, workforce impacts of the pandemic and practical actions that food businesses can take to protect their staff.

Key things every food businesses needs to know

Important points shared in the published information include:

  • COVID-19 is not a food-borne disease
  • Businesses need to review their operations and consider what other measures should be implemented to reduce the impact of COVID-19
  • Businesses with good preparations and procedures in place can minimise the impact of an employee diagnosed with COVID-19

The NSW Food Authority put considerable emphasis on food safety precautions such as ensuring all food workers practise frequent hand washing and enforcing strict requirements about health and hygiene. Cleaning and sanitising, and the need to sanitise more items than normal, was also discussed. Items that should be included in an updated cleaning and sanitising schedule include door handles, light switches, floors and walls.

Protecting all staff

The NSW Food Authority also put great emphasis on protecting staff. Details in the guidelines include:

  • Reviewing the health status of staff and ensuring they don’t work while sick
  • The importance of good hand hygiene
  • Increasing time between shifts or service periods
  • Limiting the number of people who come into contact with each other in the workplace
  • Reviewing customer entry points and interactions to ensure social distancing
  • Reviewing staff roles and points of contact
  • Having staff get flu shots
  • Reassuring staff where possible

Other things to consider

The guidelines also discuss how food businesses can deal with sick customers and sick employees (including those waiting on COVID-19 tests and those confirmed to have COVID-19). Food businesses can also learn more about changes that will be made to audits and inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the guidelines in full on the NSW Health Authority website.