Tips and advice for potato deliveries and collections during the coronavirus outbreak

This guidance aims to support potato collections from farms and delivery to their final use destination through the current coronavirus situation. With an increased demand for a wider range of food products, the need to maintain capacity flow through the supply chain is crucial.

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With care we can ensure collections and deliveries are maintained whilst taking steps to minimise the risk factors for virus spread. The critical factor in a well-functioning supply chain during this difficult time will be patience and respect for each business partner and person.

This information has been collated and reviewed by AHDB, NFU the Potato Processors Association and the Fresh Potato Suppliers Association taking into consideration the latest information available from official sources, including Public Health England. We encourage all users of this document to regularly check the latest government advice available here.

Guidance for on farm and store collection

The NFU have produced a comprehensive set of guidance and helpful information for growers that can be found on their website. Key points for potato growers are as follows:

  • Visitors, deliveries and collections on farm: avoid direct contact with new entrants on farm and ensure hands are washed thoroughly before new entrants come onto the farm and use of PPE where necessary.
  • Ensure that all surfaces that may be shared by entrants onto the farm are cleaned before and after use to prevent spread of the virus.
  • Consider biosecurity protocols such as cleaning types of equipment which uses hands.
  • Communal rooms and toilets for farm staff- ensure there are handwashing facilities available.
  • It is important where possible that we, the supply chain, work together. In the event lorry capacity is tightened, if your business is able to give flexibility for loading times this will help ease tightness.

Specific guidance for drivers

The Road Haulage Association have produced specific guidance for staff in the transport sector. Click here for the detailed review of guidance. Key points from this document are outlined below:

  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products, this includes areas inside the cab and any external areas that are at risk of contact by third parties.
  • Use facilities at end destination for washing hands and sanitising.
  • Ensure all contact with third parties follows official government guidance when en-route to end destination.
  • Potato growers and hauliers are encouraged to keep in close contact with end destination delivery points to check customer requirements to ensure all are aware of updated site measures put in place.
  • In the event of an increase in imported material drivers need to be aware that potato supply chain protocols and hygiene measures will extend to new collection sites at ports.

Guidance for delivery to store and end-use destination

  • Potato supply chains, especially packhouse sites, operate under very strict hygiene rules, ensuring that all hygiene measures are carried out and adhered to will be key to operational activities as we move forward.
  • Take all appropriate steps to minimize person to person contact on site – follow the Governments social distancing recommendations of maintaining a 2m space at all times with other personnel.
  • Ensure all site-specific information is either communicated to visitors prior to delivery or available at point of site entry. This includes self-declaration forms which sites may have introduced for visitors.
  • Sites should continue to provide normal access to welfare facilities (toilets & hand washing facilities) for all persons visiting the site. HSE has issued reminders that restricting access is against the law, and may actually assist in further spreading of the virus.
  • Where possible ensure separate facilities are available for site visitors and permanent site staff
  • Both sites and visitors should take steps to avoid the unnecessary movement and transfer of materials (eg. paper documentation, pens etc.) between site personnel and visitors. Consider the use of remote collection, drop off points for documents where possible.

Click here to download resources for workplaces.