Supermarket chain Iceland has apologised after advice on its website saying that NHS workers would have to ‘buy what they touched’ sparked an online backlash.
The policy appeared on the supermarket’s FAQs on what it is doing to help customers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a section on how the company is protecting its staff, the advice — which has since been removed — said: “If NHS workers touch products they have to buy them, they can’t put them back. This is to reduce the risk of contamination.”
The wording came under fire on social media, with NHS workers voicing their anger at the suggestion they are more contagious than others.
— Judith Laycock (@JudeLaycock) April 16, 2020
Judith Laycock wrote: “If we touch things we have to buy them! We are apparently so unclean as nhs staff!! What an insult!”
Another user wrote: “So according to you the NHS staff are contagious.. Touch something and they have to buy it as their contagious! I won’t be shopping in Iceland!!”
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Iceland has since amended the wording to remove any suggestion that NHS staff are contagious, or any advice that they will have to buy what they touch.
The advice now reads: “The safety and wellbeing of our staff is of paramount importance to us. We are working closely with the government on the provisions that our front line staff might need, whether that be gloves, masks and disinfectant wipes.”
— 🤞 (@ohdearieeme) April 15, 2020
In a response to one tweet, Iceland wrote: “Hi, this was an error & should not have been posted on our website. We sincerely apologise for the offence this has causes, & have immediately withdrawn this guidance.
“We’re deeply grateful to the NHS & all key workers for everything they’re doing to keep the country running.”
Hi, this was an error & should not have been posted on our website. We sincerely apologise for the offence this has caused, & have immediately withdrawn this guidance. We're deeply grateful to the NHS & all key workers for everything they're doing to keep the country running.
— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@IcelandFoods) April 16, 2020