Guidance has been issued for businesses setting up food delivery and takeaway services in response to the coronavirus lockdown.

With Government restrictions placed on pubs, restaurants and cafes, many food businesses are considering diversifying to provide food from their existing menus or new dishes for delivery or takeaway.

It is hoped the guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) will help businesses to trade safely, adhere to Government advice and restrictions, and keep their staff and customers safe.

The guidance points out that the current scientific advice is that Covid-19 is "very unlikely" to be spread by food.

It says the virus is thought to survive on hard surfaces for up to three days "which is why cleaning and disinfection routines throughout the customer journey are critical to minimise its spread".

The guidance, which points out the importance of social distancing, adds: "You must put in place a process, at the point of ordering, to establish whether a customer is self-isolating or ill.

"The process should include how this information is communicated to drivers and/or riders to minimise the risk to them of Covid-19 transmission."

The guidance recommends the use of disposable containers and packaging to avoid the need to deal with cleaning of any returns.

"This will avoid any potential viral contamination and transmission of Covid-19 from returned containers," it says.

The guidance says that uniforms are a potential source of transmission, and urges businesses to ensure staff wear clean uniforms at all times.

Kate Thompson, CIEH Wales director, said: "In these difficult times I am delighted that we have been able to publish this valuable guidance to food businesses across the country.

"We wholeheartedly support those businesses who are innovating and looking for ways to diversify their services into takeaways and deliveries.

"CIEH has worked collaboratively with our members in the public and private sector to produce this guidance for businesses who may not have previously offered a delivery or takeaway service.

"Following this guidance will help to ensure the food they produce is safe and their staff and customers are protected from the risks posed by the virus."

By Catherine Wylie, PA