University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FSHN20-13

COVID-19 FAQ for Food Service: Cleaning and Disinfection1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman2

This flyer is best viewed as a PDF. It provides guidance for food service establishments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Updated March 30, 2020.

There is no CDC report that COVID-19 is transmitted through food, but evidence suggests it may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces. CDC recommends cleaning followed by disinfection as a best practice for prevention of COVID-19.

WHAT DISINFECTANTS SHOULD BE USED?

  • CDC advises using compounds on the list of EPA recommended disinfectants, found at go.ncsu.edu/epacovid-19. (Note: this list is based on current data, but compounds have not been validated for inactivation of the virus causing COVID-19).

  • Check with chemical suppliers to see if currently used compounds are on the list and if changes need to be made for them to be used effectively.

  • To use heat, run utensils or equipment through a commercial dishwasher that will heat to 145°F (65°C) or higher for five minutes or longer. Alternatively, hot water maintained at or above 145°F (65°C) can be used.

HOW SHOULD SURFACES BE HANDLED?

  • EPA recommended commercial disinfectants should be used on the following as often as is practical:

    • Tables, chairs, counter, handrails, etc.

    • All self-service surfaces, including: buffet/salad bar lines, shakers, bottles, condiments, etc.

    • Restroom surfaces, including: doorknobs, faucets, handles, etc.

  • Avoid wiping surfaces with water only; use a disinfectant.

HOW SHOULD SELF-SERVICE AREAS BE HANDLED?

  • Utensils in self-service areas should be changed as often as possible. Management should assess how frequently they are used and make decisions.

  • Consider moving self-serve items like condiments and utensils to behind the employee counter to minimize contact, if possible.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IF A GUEST IS DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?

  • Contact and coordinate with the health department, as they will want to trace both employee and guest contacts and can advise on guest messaging.

  • CDC recommends if a facility has a known case of COVID-19 in their restaurant they should close that area off and wait as long as practical to begin cleaning and disinfecting.

For More Information

Visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

(800) 232-4636

Footnotes

1.

This document is FSHN20-13, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication. © NCSU. Used with permission.

2.

Natalie Seymour, MS, Extension associate; Mary Yavelak, MS, Extension associate; Candice Christian, MPH, Extension associate; and Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist; NC State University Extension. UF Contact: Michelle Danyluk, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL | mddanyluk@ufl.edu | (863) 956-8654.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.