Food safety advice
- Category: Environmental health
- Last Updated: 05 August 2016
The Safer Food, Better Business pack is a system that helps you manage the major potential food hazards in your food business.
This includes the "Four Cs":
- Cross contamination
Every food business, by law, must have a food safety management system in place and this pack provides help and advice.
How can I get a copy of the Safer Food, Better Business pack?
Copies of the SFBB Pack and Diary refills are available for businesses to download and print from the relevant section on the FSA website.
A completed SFBB pack or other equivalent documented food safety management system must be kept on the business premises and be available for examination during routine food hygiene inspections. Failure to produce a completed pack and an up to date diary will have a detrimental affect on your business's food hygiene rating.
For further information and advice please email Health and Environment or telephone 01653 600666.
Risk assessments are a legal requirement for all food businesses.
Food business operators should identify steps in their activities that are critical to ensure food safety. Safe procedures can be identified, maintained and reviewed on the basis of the following principles, used to develop the system of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).
- analyse the potential food hazards in your business operation;
- identify the points in those operations where those food hazards may occur;
- decide which of those points identified are critical to food safety - the "critical points";
- identify and implement effective control and monitoring procedures at those critical points; and
- review the analysis of food hazards, the critical control points and the control and monitoring procedures periodically and whenever the food business operations change.
We require a risk assessment to be carried out prior to registration of a food business.
The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006
The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006, supported by European Regulation 852/2004, apply to anyone who owns, manages or works in a food business, apart from those working in primary food production such as harvesting, slaughtering or milking, is affected by these Regulations.
Who is affected?
Anyone who owns, manages or works in a food business, apart from those working in primary food production such as harvesting, slaughtering or milking, is affected by these Regulations. They apply to anything from a hot dog van to a five star restaurant, from a village hall where food is prepared to a large supermarket, or to a vending machine. This is true whether you sell publicly or privately, in a hotel or in a marquee, for profit or for fundraising. The Regulations do not apply to food cooked at home for private consumption. Every process which deals with preparing or selling food can be classed as a food business activity, including:-
Generally, anyone who handles food, or whose actions could affect its safety, must follow the Regulations. This includes people who sell food (whether to retailers or to the public) and anyone who cleans articles or equipment which come into contact with food.
What do they cover?
The Regulations apply to all types of food and drink and their ingredients. But some businesses, generally manufacturers of products of animal origin such as dairies or wholesale fish markets, follow their own product specific regulations.
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Identifying and controlling food hazards
As the proprietor of a food business, you must:-
- make sure food is supplied or sold in a hygienic way
- identify food safety hazards
- know which steps in your activities are critical for food safety
- ensure safety controls are in place, maintained and reviewed
the majority of food businesses are required to have a documented food safety management system in place. For catering businesses the 'Safer Food Better Business pack, published by the Food Standards Agency, is available in a number of languages.
Basic hygiene requirements
The Regulations aim to set out basic hygiene principles and focus on how to identify and control food safety risks at each stage of the process of preparing and selling food. Rather than simply following a list of rules, the Regulations let you assess the risk to food safety and then apply controls relevant to your own situation. Not all the requirements for the structure and equipment of food premises will apply to you. Some are followed by the words "where appropriate" or "where necessary". For example, one provision states that, "where appropriate" floors must allow surface drainage. But where you have a system to ensure water does not build up, so that there is no risk to food safety, actual floor drains may not be necessary. So there is no absolute requirement to have them.
Basic requirements for food businesses
Food premises should:-
- be clean and maintained in good repair
- be designed and constructed to permit good hygiene practices
- have an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water
- have suitable controls in place to protect against pests
- have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting
- have sufficient natural and/or mechanical ventilation
- provide clean lavatories which do not lead directly into food rooms
- have adequate hand washing facilities; and
- be provided with adequate drainage.
Rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed should generally have surface finishes which are easy to clean, and where necessary, disinfect. This would, for instance, apply to wall, floor and equipment finishes.
The rooms should also have:
- adequate facilities for washing food and equipment; and
- adequate facilities for the storage and removal of food waste.
Of course, many of the Regulations are basic minimum hygiene standards which apply to every food business. But how they are applied still depends on the situation. For example, every food premises must be kept clean. But how they are cleaned, and how often, will be different for a manufacturer of ready-to-eat meals than for a bakery selling bread.
For further information contact Health and Environment on 01653 600666.