Keeping Customers Safe: Health and Safety in the Food Delivery Industry

All takeaways across the UK must adhere to strict health and safety procedures when preparing and delivering food to customers.

takeaway food delivery uk

Hygiene and allergy considerations are of utmost importance. 

This guide will help new businesses by giving them the information they need when setting up a new food business and how to manage food safety in the appropriate way. Business owners should also consider taking out a food delivery insurance policy. 

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Registering the food business

Current food businesses who want to start taking orders and delivering food to customers need to carefully consider any additional risks that this new aspect of the business will likely face. 

Any food that is for sale may need to be adhering to a remodelled food safety management system, ensuring it remains safe to eat.

Start taking orders

Your business can receive a takeaway order by phone, the company website, social media or even another platform such as a mobile application.

If your food business offers an online menu, you must clearly state what you are selling, at what price and the quantity of each menu item. 

Relevant allergen information must also be provided by all food delivery businesses that take orders from customers. You can provide these details over the phone or in writing on a printed menu or via the company’s website. 

The website must have a statement informing customers where they can find all the allergen information before proceeding to order.

If your business uses another online ordering platform such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, these sites will also include a section which covers allergen information. 

Training your staff to make them aware of the various allergy requirements customers may have will be useful. This will ensure they can confidently respond to any customer queries when taking orders via telephone or online. 

To help with this, you could provide all staff with an information pack that they can refer to if they are unsure. 

Maintaining hygiene when delivering food

To maintain excellent food hygiene in the food industry, it’s important to remember the 4 C’s. These are the following:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Chilling
  • Avoiding cross contamination

To keep food safe, it must be stored properly. You can do this by using sealed food containers and using spaces such as a fridge or freezer to store it at the correct temperature. 

This has a number of benefits such as protection from harmful bacteria, avoids the possibility of other objects falling into it, and prevents cross contamination with other foods and ingredients. 

There is lots of practical information that can be found online regarding how to chill food correctly and the different storage temperatures. 

Any current food businesses which are starting to offer food delivery options to their customers may want to review and update their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) policy.

Allergen information when delivering food

As previously discussed, all food businesses need to inform customers if any food that they sell contains any allergens through an ingredient. 

We have listed the 14 most common allergens that you need to be aware of below:

  • Celery
  • Cereals that contain gluten such as barley and oats
  • Crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and prawns
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs such as mussels and oysters
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Soybeans
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites
  • Tree nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts etc.

It’s important to remember that some customers may be allergic or intolerant to ingredients that are not listed above. However, food businesses are only legally required to disclose allergy information for the 14 above.

If you are selling food over the phone or online, there are two separate stages you need to provide allergen information when customers order.

These are the following:

  • Before customers place an order
  • At the time of delivery

Avoiding cross-contamination by taking the necessary steps when preparing food will help protect your customers from a food allergy. Food businesses should take the following steps to avoid cross contamination:

  • Cleaning utensils after each use
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Storing ingredients and prepared food in separate containers
  • Separating allergen ingredients
  • Clearly labelling takeaway food with allergen information

Delivering ordered food

Food must be transported correctly so it is safe for a customer to eat. If food needs to remain cool, you could use a coolant bag or insulated box. Warm food can also be kept in a separate insulated bag.

It’s also important to clearly label any orders that include an allergen-free meal. This will make it easier for customers who order lots of different types of food to identify which meal is theirs.

In summary, careful consideration needs to be taken for any business that wants to offer a food delivery option. There are a number of steps your business needs to take before accepting orders, how to maintain food hygiene effectively and a list of the most common allergen ingredients you need to be aware of.