Important information for food businesses and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Key points to know-

  • COVID-19 is not a foodborne disease

  • Businesses need to review their operation 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 best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect your business is through good hygiene practices. At a minimum, businesses must adhere to existing requirements of food laws, specifically:

  • Maintain and practice frequent hand washing when preparing foods, after going to the bathroom, and after touching the face or hair (20 second handwashing rule)

  • Maintain thorough cleaning and sanitising of facilities, equipment, and transport vehicles (including food contact surfaces and equipment, but also door handles, light switches, floors, walls, and other ‘high touch’ areas)

    • Thoroughly cleaning surfaces with water and detergent and applying used cleaning agents is sufficient

    • Consider whether aspects of the Australian Government guidelines for cleaning will add anything to your standard procedures for cleaning and disinfection of the premises

  • Maintain strict requirements around worker health and hygiene. All staff should be trained in personal hygiene and how to wash their hands properly. Posters are available to display at handwashing stations in your business.

  • Any worker with a suspected communicable disease (such as coughing, sneezing, flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal illness) MUST be excluded from the workplace. It is recommended that the health of all employees is reviewed on a daily basis and any workers showing these symptoms are sent home or advised not to come to work.

    • Follow the NSW Health recommendations regarding self-quarantine of individuals who are considered to be a risk.

  • Consider if there are any higher risk activities in your business that need to be managed and implement appropriate risk management strategies. For example, if you have face-to-face contact with customers, encourage social distancing and have hand sanitiser available for use.

There are penalties under existing food legislation for businesses not complying with these requirements.