Council officers carry out ‘virtual’ food safety inspections

Photo: Mac231/Pixabay.

District council officers are carrying out virtual food safety inspections in a bid to ensure standards are maintained.

To help maintain social distancing during the pandemic, officers from the council’s environmental health team have been looking ways to reduce the number of personal visits to premises and adapted the service to offer advice and information virtually.

Officials say many restaurants, cafes and pubs are now offering a takeaway service so the team was keen to ensure that they understood the guidance relating not only to lockdown, but also in running this type of service.

“Current scientific advice is that Covid-19 is very unlikely to be spread by food – but we want to make sure food safety standards are maintained during these difficult times, said Bernard Morley, lead environmental health officer.

He said officers are calling takeaway food businesses to talk them through any changes to their suppliers, food storage, preparation or cooking.

The virtual inspection includes the Covid-19 requirements for social distancing, taking orders, delivery and collection.

And then there is a follow up e-mail with a link to government guidance for food businesses on coronavirus and food delivery and takeaway guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

“We pride ourselves on being proactive, offering advice and assistance to all food businesses in the district,” he added.

“We have excellent working relationships, built up over many years, and strive to educate and encourage businesses in the use of best practice.

“However we are still prepared to use enforcement action when necessary to protect the public.” [kofi]