11 Mar 2020

Dunns Food and Drinks has outlined some measures it has taken in light of the ongoing issues concerning Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Responding appropriately and timeously to the outbreak is a significant challenge for businesses worldwide. What can be said with certainty is that we take the safety of our people, the safety of the products we supply and the safety of both our customers and their customers very seriously and continue to pay close attention to the health advice being given by the UK government.

As more information becomes available, we know that adopting certain behaviours can help to reduce the risk of infection for ourselves, our colleagues and our customers.

Products and Imports
Currently there has been no change in food handling protocols or official guidance announced by the UK government surrounding food regulations and COVID-19.

Experience with SARS and MERS suggests that people are not infected with the virus through food. With no evidence yet of this happening with COVID-19, it is unlikely that this could occur. Coronaviruses need a host (animal or human) to grow in and cannot grow in food. Thorough cooking is expected to kill the virus because we know that a heat treatment of at least 30 min at 60 ºC is effective with SARS.

While more needs to be learned about how this particular virus works, coronaviruses typically cannot survive for very long on surfaces, and are very unlikely to survive over a period of days or weeks on imported products from affected areas.  At present, therte is no evidence to support transmission via imported goods and there have been no cases associated with imported goods.

Hygiene Practices
To date, Dunns Food and Drinks has had no confirmed cases of individuals being infected with the virus and none of our staff have come into contact with infected individuals.

As the government has acknowledged that an increase in UK Coronavirus infections is inevitable, the company has already put in place a number of its own appropriate proactive measures across the operations and venues of the company. These additional measures aim to protect the ongoing well-being of Dunns employees and allow business operations to continue without significant impact.

We have updated employees across our company, advising them to take preventative measures in order to limit the risk of transmission in line with advice from the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This advice specifically covers steps to take to ensure the highest standards of hygiene across our sites and our employees, along with advice to those travelling to and from affected areas, particularly from any of the ‘lock-down’ or higher risk areas.

Advice being followed includes:
It is possible that infected food workers could introduce virus to the food they are working on by coughing and sneezing, or through hand contact, unless they strictly follow good personal hygiene practices.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are maintained. These include:

Food workers must wash hands:

We have implemented additional employee awareness and education on personal hygiene and additional sanitisation controls in our facilities. We have also increased the frequency of environmental sanitisation including all work surfaces, door handles and high volume touch points, including delivery vehicles.

All employees that have been advised by a medical practitioner to self-isolate must notify their line manager through the usual absence reporting channels.

Employees with flu symptoms have been advised not to come in to work and to follow the Dunns Sick Leave policy as usual to report their sickness.

Travel & Visitors
We have implemented a business travel ban to all high risk and lock down areas. Leave will not be granted to employees wishing to travel to high risk and lock-down areas.

We will not be taking any visitors that have travelled to or been in contact with anyone who has been in the high risk or lock-down areas.

We have also implemented a policy that drivers making deliveries to us from our suppliers are banned from entering our Goods In office and must remain with their vehicles.

We have also not seen any significant supply shortages due to COVID-19, other than a recent increase in demand for products such as bactericidal hand soap, kitchen sanitiser, catering wipes and toilet rolls. We remain in stock of these products but continue to closely monitor all stock levels and work with our suppliers to try and reduce out of stocks as much as possible.  We will keep customers informed via our website of out-of-stocks due to COVID-19 when necessary.

Should you anticipate needing additional stock over and above your normal ordering patterns, please contact your account manager / telesales in the first instance who will then liaise with the stock control team. As well as a range of hygiene products for effective hygiene control and minimal handling in your business, our range includes frozen and ambient products that can be easily re-heated or prepared using minimal skill and equipment.

Continuity of Service
Dunns Food and Drinks has a business continuity and contingency plan in place, which establishes guidelines on communications, governance, reporting and resource planning amongst other factors. The scope of the plan is to cover the precautions and actions necessary to contain the risk of illness, as far as is practicable, to Dunns staff, to restrict any impact on operations and to ensure continuity of service to customers.

Customer Lock-Down
If your site becomes affected by a coronavirus outbreak and undergoes a ‘lock-down’ phase, please let us know as a matter of urgency.

We take both the health and safety of our employees and our mission to deliver service excellence to our customers very seriously and would work with our customers to minimise any potential disruption to continuity of supply.

We will take guidance from the relevant bodies and liaise directly with you to find a safe way of ensuring continuity of deliveries where possible.  This may, for example, involve simply dropping off your order and driving away, which would involve leaving the order unchecked. Unfortunately in this instance we would not be able to accept any credit claims.

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As this is a constantly evolving situation, we are proactively planning ahead and closely following updates from the UK and Scottish governments and the World Health Organisation.

We will continue to update you as the situation changes or further information becomes available.  If you have any specific enquiries about the products that you buy from us, please contact your account manager in the first instance.

We thank all our customers for their ongoing support.

Background Information
The Coronavirus COVID-19 is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually cause respiratory illness. These include viruses that cause the common cold and seasonal flu, as well as more serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The new strains was first detected in China in December 2019, and has since spread to a number of other countries, including Scotland and the other nations of the UK.

Symptoms include a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath – the infection rarely causes a runny nose or sneezing. The current evidence suggests the incubation period lasts between 1 and 14 days. The main routes of transmission have been identified as: