A Facebook group drew attention to an insensitive policy on Iceland Food Limited's website. An image shared on the site stated that National Health Service workers would be forced to buy whatever product they touch during the NHS hours at the store. Iceland soon omitted the clause from their website, but it had already caused an outrage. The now omitted clause drew mixed reactions with people both condemning and justifying it.
The UK Paramedic Humour group on Facebook shared a screenshot of the section under "Help Articles" on the Iceland website. Under the question "How will you be protecting your staff?" was the offensive answer. The answer to the question was that NHS staff have to pay using cards, the stores would be cleaned after the NHS hour, and NHS workers would have to purchase any item they picked up from the shelf, as putting them back would risk contamination.
Angered by the clause, the FB page stated that the rule made the NHS workers ostracised. It almost equated NHS workers to lepers, as their touch is seen to be enough to contaminate the stores. The page pointed out that NHS workers abide by strict hygiene guidelines to ensure that they do not carry the novel coronavirus out of the hospitals.
The page questioned the safety precaution the Iceland staff took to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading. Rhetorically, the page questioned if the Iceland staff washed their hands after coming in contact with each and every customer. It also pointed out that other customers coming to the store are touching the products as well. While the NHS workers are sure to have cleaned up after leaving their place of work, there is no guarantee about the hygiene of other customers.
Many people commented on the post supporting the outrage. However, a rare handful of people tried to justify the rule.
When The Sun contacted Iceland for comments, they assured that the entire thing was an error. Soon after the issue was highlighted, the entire segment was cleansed to offer a very different answer.
Iceland also extended an apology to NHS staff for the mistake and stated that they were deeply grateful to the health care workers for their service during the time of crisis.
In response to the apology, the Facebook group challenged Iceland to give out hampers to the homeless, unemployed, and needy. The page stated that NHS workers do not wish to get hampers for themselves they simply want Iceland to help out those in need.