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Council advice to help food businesses switching to take away services

23 Mar 2020

In response to the Coronavirus situation, Horsham District Council is giving support to local food businesses wanting to diversify their business model to develop take away and delivery ‘meals on wheels’ style services to support vulnerable customers.

Organisations wishing to now offer take away and home delivery services do need to ensure they have sufficient control measures in place.

At the most basic level, the requirements for all those considering food delivery or takeaway operations is that they must firstly be registered as a food business with Horsham District Council, and then have in place measures to ensure all food will be delivered in a way that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat.

Products must be protected from contamination at all times and be wrapped in effective packaging using impervious and non-toxic food contact packaging, such as tight sealing takeaway containers.

Consideration must also be given to whether the food needs to be kept hot or cold during transport, with insulated boxes or bags used as necessary.  It is recommended to keep delivery distances short with a travel time limited to less than 30 minutes, in order to ensure hot and cold foods are kept above 63oC and below 8oC respectively.

Providing adequate information about the food being supplied to customers is very important, particularly if that person suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.

If you have any questions about food safety matters, please contact Environmental Health & Licensing on 01403 215 403 or at

There is a wealth of allergen guidance for food businesses on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website. In addition, they have also provided general advice for business on how to manage the selling of products via online, takeaway or delivery service.

It is strongly recommended that businesses limit contact as much as possible, such as only taking orders and payments over the phone or online, rather than cash.  It is also best to leave deliveries at the door of customers instead of handing them over.

The Government has also issued COVID-19 guidance for employees, employers and businesses.

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