With more food establishments offering delivery services due to coronavirus (COVID-19) physical distancing guidelines, operators of such entities are being advised to put measures in place to ensure that meals are properly packaged and safe for consumption.
“Your goal is to deliver food and drink under sanitary and untampered conditions. The priority should be to deliver the product to your customer as if they picked it up themselves,” said Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Senior Food Technologist, Treanna Lindo.
She was addressing the JBDC Biz Zone on the topic, ‘Convenient Catering during COVID-19’.
Miss Lindo said that several things must be considered when packaging food for delivery.
She said that first, food entrepreneurs and restaurateurs must select purpose-designed containers that protect food from outside contamination and ensure that meals arrive at the right temperature.
“Reduce the risk of giving customers leaky containers by placing all sauces, dressings and any other liquids in separate containers and sealing containers holding liquid with plastic wrap for enhanced security,” she recommended.
She noted that food should be kept safe before delivery by storing it properly and ensuring that the temperature is maintained.
“Temperature is just as important as taste, so separate hot and cold foods by using insulated hot and cold bags to sustain the appropriate temperature,” Miss Lindo said.
She informed that hot bags must be kept at 65 degrees Celsius or above and cold foods must be kept four degrees Celsius and below.
In addition, she said that tamper-evident seals can be used on the containers to boost consumer’s confidence that the food has not been interfered with between pickup and delivery.
Miss Lindo advises operators of food establishments to only work with reputable delivery service providers.
“There are a lot of persons entering the delivery industry, but do research before hiring them and provide the necessary training in hygiene and the COVID precautions to these persons.
“All individuals coming into contact with or handling food must have a food handler’s permit, including the delivery person, so ensure that you confirm this before hiring this person,” she advised.
Miss Lindo said that part of the training should include emphasising the importance of wearing masks/face shields and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as doors, carts, inside of the delivery vehicle and transportation equipment.
The JBDC Biz Zone is a weekly series of webinars organised by the JBDC to assist micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The JBDC is the Government’s business development agency that assists in the sustainable creation and development of MSMEs in Jamaica.