Key messages

  • Everyone should practice good hygiene when preparing and handling food.
  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Good manufacturing practices – clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces.
  • There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through food.
  • Normal cleaning and sanitation measures will minimize the risk in a food service.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses are spread from someone infected with COVID-19 virus to other close contacts with that person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.

How is it prevented?

  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Practice cough etiquette (keep away from other people, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and clean your hands.

See the hand washing posters.

Can it be spread by foodborne transmission?

There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

EFSA’s chief scientist, Marta Hugas said: “Experiences from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), show that transmission through food consumption did not occur. At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is any different in this respect.”

Find out more

How long does COVID-19 last on surfaces?

According to the World Health Organization, it is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. 

I am a restaurant/catering business and want to provide takeaway and/or home delivery services. Are there any extra requirements I need to know about?

If your class 2 food business is currently registered, there is no further registration or administrative requirements needed for you to provide takeaway or home delivery services from your business.

You will, however, need to ensure that you have added appropriate content to your food safety program and continue to comply with all the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Safety Code sections 3.2.2 and 3.2.3, including requirements such as packaging used for takeaway, temperature control during delivery etc. To review sections 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 go to Food Standards website.

Contact your relevant registration authority (such as your local government environmental health officer) to discuss your plans further.

Where can I find more information?