According to a recent Global Nutrition Report, malnutrition is continuing to put hundreds of millions of people around the world at an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus.
This is particularly prevalent in low-income countries, of course, while malnutrition may also impact on the body’s ability to fight off the Covid-19 infection (making the symptoms considerably worse than they may have initially been).
Food safety is another important and related issue, particularly when deciding to eat out (where lockdown measures allow) and ordering in takeaway. But what exactly do you need to know about food safety as the coronavirus continues to rage?
What are the Responsibilities of Food Service Providers?
UK legislation features several prominent laws in relation to food safety, particularly in terms of how dishes are produced and delivered.
In simple terms, food safety management teams at restaurants are focused on complying with food and hygiene standards, while they remain responsible for ensuring that clear procedures are in place for all staff members to follow.
Interestingly, food safety standards must also be applied to all aspects of a restaurant’s business model, including the suppliers that are used, where ingredients are sourced from and how this is transported (in the case of delivery and takeaway services).
All food safety management procedures must also be based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), which is a control system that enables you to identify potential hazards and introduce measures to reduce these or remove them completely as required.
Restaurants and food service providers are also governed by the so-called ‘food hygiene’ scheme, which requires inspections of premises and affords businesses a rating from 0 to 5 which must be published and displayed for customers to see.
A rating of ‘5’ means that hygiene standards are very good, while a score of zero suggests that urgent improvement is required and may result in the temporary closure of the location in question.
What About Eating at a Restaurant (When We Can)?
Restaurants also have to adhere to strict rules when they’re open to customers, with these having largely been tightened and made even more stringent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fortunately, there are various things that you can look for as a customer, particularly as all restaurant workers are legally required to wear disposable gloves when handling food or (in some cases) delivering it to your table.
Ideally, those handling and serving food should also be required to wear hair nets and failing to do this could be deemed as a breach of existing food safety standards and therefore an offence that could be reported directly on the government’s website.
As Covid-19 continues to rage, those serving food or working in any restaurant capacity should wear facemasks.
While some studies have questioned the true effectiveness of wearing facemasks in minimising the spread of the coronavirus, this is still an important measure that at the very least provides reassurance to customers of all ages.
We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Arco. For more features, please pay a visit to our lifestyle page.