If you are currently a community or voluntary group and are thinking of assisting your community during the coronavirus outbreak, either by making food to deliver to people's homes or for them to collect, please do this whilst adhering to good hygiene practices. Preston City Council is here to support you  doing this safely.

During this difficult time we are here to help you help your communities.

Please contact us if you have just started or are thinking of helping out by making or delivering food, so that we help you to do this safely either via info@preston.gov.uk or call 01772 906907

These are some tips on providing safe food, but I would urge you to contact us on the telephone number above:

  • Make sure you obtain the ingredients or final food products from a reputable supplier

  • Make sure the food you buy is within its use by date

  • Use an appropriate hand sanitiser when you leave the shop / food premises. If this is not available then you need to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible using warm running water and hand soap for 20 seconds, then drying with disposable towels.

  • Make sure you transport the ingredients in a clean vehicle and all food is bagged or in containers

  • Any food packets should be wiped down with an antibacterial wipe or antibacterial spray and kitchen roll

  • If food needs to be refrigerated or frozen and it is not to be used in food preparation straight away then put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible

  • Wear an apron to protect the food from you if handling and preparing open food

  • Wash your hands before preparing any food and regularly throughout food preparation

  • Do not handle food more than you need to

  • Make sure that the surface for food preparation is cleaned with an antibacterial spray, if this is not available then clean any food preparation surfaces and equipment using detergent and hot water

  • If handling raw meat, try and do this on a different surface to the surface that is to be used for preparing food that is going to be eaten without cooking. Also try and use different utensils for raw meat and cooked or ready to eat foods if possible. If this is not possible make sure they are thoroughly cleaned in-between uses

  • Ensure food is cooked properly by cutting into any meat, ensuring that it is not pink or red

  • If food is to be delivered hot then you need to look at ways of keeping it warm, for example in insulated boxes.

  • If food is to be cooled down to be delivered later then it should be cooled within 1.5 hours. Portioning the food into separate containers will reduce the cooling time.

  • If food is to be delivered cold then you need to look at ways of keeping it cold, for example using insulated boxes with ice packs.

  • When delivering food you need to ask if the customers are self-isolating, this is so that you limit contact to help keep everyone healthy.

  • Social distancing needs to be adhered to even if someone is not exhibiting any symptoms. You could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, then step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.  If people are coming to collect the food then ensure that the 2 metres social distancing rule is adhered to, this can be done with markers on the ground or similar. 

  • We have designed a Icon for pdf Respect Social Distancing poster [121.47KB] that we recommend you display in a prominent position if customers are to visit your premises to pick up food.  There is also government guidance for social distancing.  For details visit GOV.UK - Guidance on social distancing

  • Before you deliver any food you need to check that nobody has any allergies or intolerances.

  • You should not cater for people with allergens unless strict procedures are in place to control the risks of allergen cross contamination and full allergen labelling is provided for all dishes. There is also allergen guidance for businesses on the FSA website.

  • Any volunteers should be aware of current coronavirus exclusion guidance and follow the government guidance at GOV.UK - COVID-19 stay at home guidance.  If during the course of the volunteering work they develop any symptoms then they need to isolate themselves immediately and inform other volunteers.

Existing food businesses should view our Coronavirus advice for food businesses.