Extra Food Safety Training Delivered In NI Due To Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit many of us hard and has resulted in significant changes to the way we live our lives. The hospitality industry in the UK has been especially hard-hit, with restaurants and pubs forced to close during the lockdown and yet to reopen.
Of course, during this time we’ve all been stocking up on the food in our cupboards and that means many in the food production industry have seen their workloads increase.
Some consumers have even expressed concern that the virus could be transmitted via food products and items bought from the supermarket.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph recently, food technologist in Northern Ireland Russell Ramage said that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can be transmitted via food in this way.
He pointed out that the main method of transmission of the virus is from person to person via respiratory droplets from infected people sneezing or coughing.
That being said, that doesn’t mean the food industry has been taking the threat of the virus lightly. Mr Ramage revealed that the factories he works with have incredibly stringent personal hygiene measures in place and that they have also carried out extra training for staff to reiterate the importance of food safety.
He explained that the strict food safety measures already in place for all food producers in Northern Ireland are designed to prevent contamination by harmful bacteria. “There is every reason to believe they are as effective on Covid-19 as on other microbiological risks in the food production chain,” Mr Ramage stated.
Running refreshers of food hygiene training courses is never a bad idea, especially when there is such a strong focus on hygiene and safety in society.
Mr Ramage added that certain elements of the training are particularly relevant in the current time, including “the already existing thorough procedures for cleaning and disinfection of food production facilities along with stringent personal hygiene procedures that cover hand washing, the use of gloves and masks, [and] dedicated hygienic clothing”.
While food producers have been able to continue operating throughout the pandemic, and indeed their work has been essential for keeping shop shelves stocked with produce, restaurants have not been so lucky.
However, one chef recently told BigHospitality how he and his team are working hard to get ready for the day they’re allowed to reopen their venues.
Mark Birchall, who runs the two Michelin-starred Moor Hall and its sister restaurant The Barn, told the publication that they have been seeking the views of subscribers to their newsletter to find out how likely people are to dine out when hospitality businesses can reopen, as well as what they are most concerned about in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak and eating out.
Mr Birchall explained that the restaurant is already planning to introduce “enhanced procedures and training for staff regarding hygiene”, as well as carrying out daily temperature checks of all of its team and providing hand washing and sanitisation stations for both guests and staff throughout its premises.
Many hospitality businesses may choose to take similar steps to enable them to reopen when lockdown restrictions are further lifted, and that may mean that even more businesses require help with food hygiene training for their teams.