In a shocking misunderstanding of how Covid-19 is actually spread, Iceland Foods have upset many by demanding that NHS staff touching products in store must buy the products to “reduce the risk of contamination”. 

Iceland Foods advised on their website under a now removed section entitled ‘How will you be protecting your staff?’:

“We have had strong measures in place to protect our staff during the Covid-19 outbreak. We will be limiting payments to cards only (contactless where possible) during the NHS exclusive hours, and aiming to clean stores following the exclusive hour each day. If NHS workers touch products they have to buy them, they can’t put them back. This is to reduce the risk of contamination. We are communicating regularly with our store teams, offering guidance and updates on health and safety measures.”

UPDATE: ICELAND HAVE NOW REMOVED THIS SECTION. It can however still be seen in the link archived above.

The virus that causes Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Keeping your distance, keeping your hands clean and not touching your face is usually enough to prevent it spreading. Read more about how it spreads here.

The spread isn’t really the point of this article though, it’s more to highlight what this is doing to the morale of frontline staff.

Katie Caldwell, a Staff nurse at NHS Fife, put it better than we could:

“Yeah, thanks Iceland Foods. Thanks for implying healthcare professionals are dirty, unclean people. Thanks for making us out to be lepers. If anything, Iceland – healthcare professionals are MORE likely to adhere to IPC guidelines by rigorous hand washing (for proof, just feel how rough our hands are). Can we say the same about your staff who handle one item after the other?

Do your staff wash their hands after coming in to contact with EACH & EVERY customer? Guess what….we do! Do your staff wear separate coveralls for each customer? Guess what….we do!

At this horrid time, don’t make us feel bad. Not when we have colleagues losing their homes because their bigoted landlords don’t want a dirty paramedic living in their homes! We wonder if you have the same protocol for the general public? The general public who are more likely to fail the correct and approved handwashing technique?

One loaf of bread could be touched by +50 customers throughout the day. How many of them have washed their hands? How many of them have hugged their friend before entering the store?

How many of them have visited the bathroom without washing their hands?

Because you can guarantee a healthcare professional sticks to a strict hygiene regime because we see first hand how this virus is spread. Hand hygiene is drilled into us.

Why not take a leaf out of stores like Waitrose & Partners, Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and many more – who are going above and beyond to ensure our hard working, tired, exhausted, emotionally and physically defeated heroes are given the recognition they deserve and the morale boost they so desperately need right now! Your ‘policy’ is damaging to the morale of these heroes!”

Well said.

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Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
5 months ago

As one who regularly shops at Iceland, this isn’t limited to NHS staff, they have been same to all customers for weeks. Whilst I personally it ridiculous, they are the only major supermarket I can order grocery shopping from online, all the others have no delivery slots available at all throughout April, May and June, heck, my local Waitrose is supposedly fully booked til August.

Herodotus
5 months ago

Is Iceland a defence contractor?

md_pepa
md_pepa
5 months ago
Reply to  George Allison

BMEWS’d at this comment though, as they are critical to our missle defence

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  md_pepa

Pity they are not called Alaska or Greenland!

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I think Kerry Katona heavily promoted them back in the day during the Blair Brown years kinda says it all about them ….. those days don’t actually seem that bad now I think about it

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago

Nothing like a bit of bad publicity to get these companies into reverse gear pronto.

Hope the nationals pick this up and shame them to the stars.

Trevor
Trevor
5 months ago

Why should they be shamed?
They made a mistake a misunderstanding and corrected it. And some moaning minnie took it upon her to complain at length.

This is a defence blog. If we say look at WW2, we can proudly say we won that war. We deserved to. But in the process we made endless mistakes. Indeed we can, I suggest, say that wars are won by the side that makes the fewest number of mistakes.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Trevor

Fair enough Trevor.

That’s my opinion. I think Katie Caldwell has fair reason to be a moaning minnie myself, as if she had not raised the point maybe the policy would still be in place?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago

And yes, it is a defence blog.

But George as we now know is an NHS worker, and the issue clearly is close to his heart, and he has put an article up on his site, which he is entitled to do.

If it is not defence related we can always ignore.

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago

Supermarkets need to sanitize their produce, by using Far-UVc lamps. Make more use of technology to fight the virus!

Reaper
Reaper
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

My company has just taken on a contract to sell uvd robots. These things kill everything. You can’t use them in supermarkets, they would kill all the fresh food.

Ian
Ian
5 months ago

This is the same basic problem that arises every time an organisation allows its policies to be devised by morons who don’t adequately understand the thing they are trying to mitigate.

Herodotus
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Using terms like morons is really not helpful. Ever made a mistake in your life….if not, then clearly you are an exceptional person. Whilst the rest of us mere mortals are morons!

Ian
Ian
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

There are a few Ians’ on this site, the one above is not the Ian who recently had a discussion on the creation of The NHS!

Ian P
Ian P
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian

OK, the recent (creation of the NHS) Commenter IAN, is now known as Ian P. That’s not to say that my debating will be any less polemic than usual. I personally, wouldn’t use the (offensive) term “moron’ to describe those who set these rules. Supermarkets are profit driven and constantly in battle with each other, the consumer is merely there to have his/her hard earned brass pried from the wallet/purse. This appears to me, as mitigating loss of profits, rather than mitigating any risk to health. Must also add, my local co-op put an extra 10p on bread last week!… Read more »

Ian
Ian
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Yes- but never such a rudimentary one. The term is helpful if it’s apt. In this case it is.

Herodotus
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Don’t know what your first sentence is referring to, is there a typo? ‘The term is helpful if it is apt’….as I pointed out, to err is human therefore it isn’t apt!

Ian P
Ian P
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

OK, the recent (creation of the NHS) Commenter IAN, is now known as Ian P. That’s not to say that my debating will be any less polemic than usual. I personally, wouldn’t use the (offensive) term “moron’ to describe those who set these rules. Supermarkets are profit driven and constantly in battle with each other, the consumer is merely there to have his/her hard earned brass pried from the wallet/purse. This appears to me, as mitigating loss of profits, rather than mitigating any risk to health. Must also add, my local co-op put an extra 10p on bread last week!… Read more »

reesehane
reesehane
5 months ago

NICE

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
5 months ago

Crass. The important message is warped by insensitivity. Keep safe everyone.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

To be fair they made a mistake and rectified it, however not sure Katie from Fife rant is helpful or reasonable!

kuranda
kuranda
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Join the discussion…

kurand
kurand
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yes they made a mistake but of a type that should not happen if they had really thought it through

Grubbie
Grubbie
5 months ago

You just can’t win, there’s always someone determined to be offended..Everyone knows what they meant to convey, please don’t touch the goods and obviously this applies to everyone.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago

Grace under pressure is an admirable quality. But Katie’s rant overdue. The NHS and social care sector have been subjected for years to continuous budget pressures by forces which want a US health model. The good news is the NHS have become very efficient and well organised. The bad news is that they have been forced into a defensive culture. Katie is the worm that has turned. Good for her. Iceland were the nearest target for her frustration. Their bad luck but it happens. Why did my excellent GP retire in his early 50s?. Because he couldn’t stomach the latest… Read more »

Grubbie
Grubbie
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I think that your GP actually retired because he was able to,with UK GPs being the best paid in the world.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Grubbie

Well, no doubt he made sure he had enough to live on. But my point is that this man was not just a doctor. He was a healer. He didn’t just look at the blood test results and dish out pills. For him drugs were a last resort. He helped you to help yourself and had a good 20 years left in him but not working in a conveyor belt system. When he retired I lost a trusted advisor. The reason we cannot attract and retain GPs is that they are not given the time they need with the patient… Read more »