NEW GUIDELINES have been released for free-range egg producers that wish to sell produce from the farm gate safely.
The British Free-Range Egg Producers Association said its members had reported surge in direct sales.
Eggs have been in short supply on supermarket shelves in recent weeks, as shoppers seek to stock up on essential goods.
Bfrepa sought advice from the government, the British Retail Consortium, Federation of Small Businesses and FARMA to ask for specific guidance relating to the handling of eggs, packaging and cash from customers.
A spokesman said all had advised that farmers should follow trusted sources of information and pointed to the government page offering specific advice for food businesses.
According to the World Health Organisation, packaging is not thought to be a transmission risk, but Bfrepa advised that efforts should be made “to ensure it is cleaned and handled in line with usual food safety practices”.
The organisation summarised its advice to farmers selling from the farm gate:
- It is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. Covid-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.
- Any food handler who is unwell should not be at work. If they have symptoms, they should follow government advice and stay at home.
- Use floor markings to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of 2 metres – both inside the food business and in the external public areas where customers may need to queue.
- Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly by staff or customers, using your standard cleaning products.
- Provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water and hand sanitiser.
- Encourage the use of contactless payments where possible, without disadvantaging older or vulnerable customers.
- Consider delivery services and taking orders online or by telephone in advance. Help reduce the spread of coronavirus by reminding everyone of the government’s public health advice – posters, leaflets and other materials are available online.
- Although it is very unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted through food, as a matter of good hygiene anyone handling food should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This should be done as a matter of routine, before and after handling food.
- Hand sanitiser gels can be used in addition to hand washing, but they only work on clean hands. They should never be used as a substitute to hand washing.