Richmondshire District Council

Coronavirus and food

Official guidance from the Food Standards Agency states that it is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. It is still very important that all food businesses exercise effective hygiene maintenance procedures to make sure that food produced is suitable for consumption and free from contamination.

We are aware of some difficulties in accessing suitable soap, detergent, disinfectants (antibacterial products) and sanitisers to enable effective cleaning and disinfection of utensils and equipment, surfaces and hands.


Where suitable surface disinfectants are unavailable you must ensure that you have separate areas for raw food preparation and ready to eat food preparation at all times.

You must continue to adequately clean any food preparation surfaces using detergent and hot water, ensuring that you use different disposable cloths for raw food and ready to eat food preparation areas.

Equipment and utensils

If the same utensils and equipment are used for both raw food and ready-to-eat food, at separate times, then you must ensure that utensils and equipment are disinfected between uses using your dishwasher on the hottest full cycle.

Dishwashers must be cleaned and functioning correctly. If the dishwasher is not working correctly it will not be an effective control. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and allow the washing cycle to complete fully.

Any method of heat disinfection is acceptable if the process removes E. coli O157 from all surfaces. For example, a sterilising sink or a steam cleaner. Adequate time and temperature combinations may need to be considered and utensils and equipment should be visibly clean prior to any heat disinfection.

If heat disinfection or a dishwasher is not available, then equipment and utensils must not be shared. They should be specifically designated for either raw food only or for ready-to-eat food only.


Regardless of the availability of hand sanitisers, all food handlers should regularly wash their hands using warm running water, hand soap and drying with disposable towels. Click on the link for further details on how to effectively wash hands.

If liquid hand soaps are unavailable then you should use alternatives such as soap bars.

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