Supermarket brands NHS workers as ‘contaminated’

Healthcare workers say the wording only further reinforces negative attitudes towards them. 

Chloe Dawson
16 April 2020

A supermarket has said that if NHS workers touch a product they must buy it.

Retail food giant Iceland has come under heavy criticism for branding NHS workers as ‘contaminated’.


Information published on their website around protecting workers reads; ” We have had strong measures in place to protect our staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“If NHS workers touch products they have to buy them, they can’t put them back. This is to reduce the risk of contamination.”

Healthcare workers from around the county have taken to social media to complain the food giant is only further reinforcing negative attitudes towards them.

Earlier this month healthcare professionals reported being verbally abused, spat at and even evicted after being accused of ‘spreading Coronavirus’.


Others pointed out that NHS workers may need to examine packaging for specific allergen or dietary advice.

Sarah Parker, an Infection Prevention and Control Specialist Nurse said Iceland’s comments were unfounded. She said; “If anything, NHS workers would be less of a risk than the general public.”

Adding that NHS staff “are usually more conscious of correct hand hygiene practices” and are often more compliant with the current social distancing advice.

Since publication, an Iceland spokesperson has said: “This was an error and should not have been posted on our website.


“We sincerely apologise for the offence this has clearly caused, and have immediately withdrawn this guidance.

“We are deeply grateful to the NHS and all key workers for everything they are doing to keep the country running.”

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