The following areas are key topics food businesses will need to consider in relation to food hygiene and food safety. These topics will not apply to all businesses and this is not an exhaustive list. Businesses may need to consider other areas to ensure the food they are producing is safe.
Food hygiene training
You must ensure that anyone who handles food within your business is supervised and instructed and or trained to a level which is appropriate for the work that they do. The training should be equivalent to level 2 in food hygiene.
They must know how to make sure that food is handled, prepared and served without the risk of food being contaminated or causing food poisoning.
The Food Standards Agency has produced a series of short food safety coaching videos showing you how to keep food safe.
Food management systems
Food management is about the procedures and systems you have put into place to make sure the food your business is producing is safe to eat.
Food businesses must put into place procedures based upon Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). These procedures must be documented (recorded in writing) and up to date records relating to these procedures must be kept. Procedures must be reviewed on a regular basis or if there are any changes to the business.
The Food Standards Agency has produced a document called 'Safer food, Better Business' to help businesses meet this requirement. You can either download and print a copy from the Food Standards Agency website or alternatively printed copies are available to buy from us for £16. Payment will need to be made online and a printed copy will be sent to you.
You must complete the document to reflect your food safety procedures, including details of who supplies your ingredients and any business you supply with your products
You can also use the diary section at the back of the pack to record your opening and closing checks. Diary refills are also available to download and print from the Food Standards Agency website.
A yearly Food Safety Diary which can be used for recording your temperature, opening and closing checks is also available to buy from us for £11. Payment will need to be made online and a printed copy will be sent to you.
There is also the Assured Safe Catering style of food safety management which some businesses may find easier to use. There is an Assured Safe Catering completed example and an Assured Safe Catering blank template which can be used to produce your own system.
Chilled foods must be kept at 8oC or below, an air temperature of 5oC or below should help keep foods at the correct temperature. Cooked or reheated foods must reach 70oC for 2 minutes or 75oC for 30 seconds or equivalent. Hot food must then be kept above 63oC until served.
If using a temperature probe to check the temperature of foods, it must be cleaned using antibacterial probe wipes as part of a two stage clean. Checks will also need to be done to make sure the probe is working correctly. A simple way to check would be to put in iced water, the probe should read between 1oC and -1oC, and into boiling water, the probe should read between 99oC and 101oC.
Cold food can be kept outside temperature control for one single period of up to four hours. After this time the food needs to be returned to below 8oC or thrown away. This food cannot be stored outside temperature control again.
Hot food can be stored below 63oC for one single period of up two hours. After this time it needs to be returned to above 63oC or below 8oC. It cannot be stored outside temperature control again.
If using either of these temperature exemptions there must be a documented safe procedure in place.
Use by dates and best before dates
A manufacturers use by date is the date the manufacturer guarantees the product’s safety. It is a criminal offence to sell or use any food past the use by date. You must check your fridges on a daily basis to ensure that food past the use by date is not stored and is thrown away.
Ideally you should not freeze foods with a use by date. If caterers freeze food with a use by date there must be a safe procedure in place to ensure the use by date of the food is not extended. The food must be frozen before the use by date expires and be clearly marked with the date of freezing and the date of defrosting.
Businesses must also follow the manufacturers instructions for the storage and use of food. Many foods have a use by date which becomes active once opened and must be followed.
As a general rule, food prepared by a business should be given a maximum shelf life of the day of production plus 2 days. To ensure food is not used past this date a date labelling system should be used.
Further information on shelf life is available from the Food and Drink Federation Industry Guidance on Setting Product Shelf Life
British Standard BS 6465-1:2006 provides guidance for the required numbers of toilets, dependant on the use of the premises. Toilets must not open directly onto food preparation areas.
Please contact us to discuss how many toilets you need.
Advice for home caterers and jam and chutney makers
Advice for mobile traders and event catering
All businesses must have arrangements in place to dispose of their commercial waste.
Commercial waste is any rubbish which is generated through a business.
Waste must be stored in suitable containers to stop it from escaping the control of the business.
Businesses must either:
- arrange to have a trade waste contract where rubbish is collected by an authorised waste carrier
- take waste to an authorised site for disposal themselves.
If you are taking waste to an authorised site yourself you must register as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency, even if you are only transporting your own waste. Further information is available from the Environment Agency website.
When you dispose of your waste a waste transfer note will be issued, these need to be kept for a minimum of two years.
It is against the law for businesses to place any commercial waste into residential bins.
Useful contacts for food businesses
The Food and Safety Team is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy when you use our services. Please view our Food and Safety Team Privacy Notices for further information, printed copies are available on request.