Food production - hygiene

Contents

Remember

Take extra care if young children, pregnant women, anyone who is ill or elderly people are eating with you, as they can be particularly vulnerable to food poisoning bacteria.

Visit the FSA website or NHS choices website for further food safety and nutritional information.

Food complaints

What if I have a complaint about food or a food business?

The Food and Safety Team can investigate all food hygiene matters. If you are concerned about food handling practices or standards of cleanliness in food businesses, you can make a complaint by contacting us.

All your details will be kept confidential, and once a complaint has been received, an authorised officer will investigate the complaint and let you know of the outcome.

For more serious complaints we may take court action, in which case you may be required to give evidence in court.

The level of investigation will depend upon the nature of the complaint, the risk posed to health, the professional judgment of the investigating officer and previous knowledge of similar complaints.

We cannot get a refund or compensation for your food and it is your decision as to whether to pursue the food complaint through us or to return it to the place of purchase for the supplier to carry out an investigation.

If you allow us to investigate your complaint we will not be able to return the food to you.

Deciding whether the complaint requires further investigation is based on the risk to health and need for public protection.

What if I run a food business and I have concerns about food that has been supplied to me or that I have sold on?

Either contact us to discuss it further or go to the FSA website and fill in a Food Incident Report Form.

Frequently asked questions about food safety

I have found a foreign object in my food - what should I do?

Don't remove the foreign object from the food - leave it where it is. If the food is perishable and you cannot contact us immediately, it is advisable to freeze the product. Ensure that you keep all receipts and packaging connected with this product. Contact us for further information and to discuss your complaint with an officer.

I think that a meal I ate at the weekend has made me ill, what do I do?

If you suspect you have food poisoning or a food-borne illness, visit your doctor. The doctor might suggest a faecal specimen is taken. This is the only definite way of confirming suspected cases of food poisoning and food-borne illnesses. If you have any of the suspect food left, freeze the food and contact us. For further information on food poisoning visit our Food Poisoning page.

I have seen food in my local shop which is for sale past its 'best before' date- are they breaking the law?

No, it is not an offence to sell food which is past its 'best before' date as it is only the quality of the food that is likely to be affected. However, it is an offence to sell or possess for sale food which is past its 'use-by' date. This is because these types of food can potentially support the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms. The types of food which are labelled with 'use-by' dates mainly includes ready-to-eat food such as cooked meat and poultry, soft cheeses, prepared salads and dressings, sandwiches, cream products and any dishes containing egg or cheese.

It is good practice not to sell food past its 'best-before' date.

I've seen shop assistants handling money and then food without washing their hands, is this right?

Money does not provide ideal conditions for bacterial growth; therefore the risk of cross-contamination from money to food is reduced. It is important however, that food handlers maintain good personal hygiene by frequently washing their hands and avoid excessive handling of open food, for example, by using tongs.

Is it necessary for food handling staff to wear gloves?

No. It is a not a food safety requirement to wear gloves. It is a requirement that food handlers maintain a high degree of personal hygiene, which means that they are required to frequently wash their hands and therefore, gloved hand-washing is also encouraged. Where gloves are worn, they should be changed on a regular basis particularly as the warm, moist conditions inside the gloves can promote the multiplication of bacteria.

What's the best way to store eggs, as shops don't refrigerate them?

Eggs, including the shell, may be contaminated with Salmonella food poisoning bacteria which can multiply to dangerous levels when stored at room temperatures or in rooms where there are fluctuations in temperatures and moisture. It is usually recommended that eggs are stored in the refrigerator to minimise the multiplication of Salmonella. It is good practice to purchase small amounts of eggs more frequently rather than having a large number of eggs in the store for longer periods. The eggs that you purchase should have at least 7 days left before their 'best-before' date. Eggs must always be used by the 'best before' date indicated on the container.

It is recommended that you look for eggs which have the Lion Quality mark stamped on them. This stamp can only be used on eggs which have been produced in accordance with UK and EU law. The Lion Quality eggs are also laid by hens vaccinated against Salmonella enteritidis which is the type of food poisoning usually associated with eggs - although this does not mean that they eggs will not contain Salmonella sp.

I have found some glass in my canned fish, what should I do?

The product you have found might not be glass. In certain canned fish products, a naturally occurring crystal can develop during the canning process. This crystal is called struvite. A simple test will enable you to tell the difference. Place the crystals in vinegar and gently heat. If the crystals dissolve - it is struvite.

If the crystals do not dissolve the product may be glass and it is advisable that you contact us. If you find struvite in your canned fish you may wish to inform the manufacturer.

I have found some small insects in my flour, what are they?

Dried products such as sugar, biscuits and flour may contain small insects known as psocids or book-lice. They thrive in moist, dark and warm conditions and can contaminate other foods rapidly as they breed very quickly. They are able to eat through the packaging and the food product.

If you discover that your food has been affected by psocids, throw out all contaminated food, clean the cupboards with a bleach solution and dry the cupboard out thoroughly. It is also recommended that you store any new goods in air-tight containers and ensure good ventilation in the kitchen.

I have found an insect in my lettuce, what should I do?

Salad items and vegetables, particularly lettuce may have insects attached. This is as a result of the reduced amount of pesticides being used in their production and the fact that the products are grown outside or in the soil. Some insects can be easily washed off, but greenfly can be more difficult to remove. Although it is unpleasant to find insects in these products, it would not be considered to be a risk to public health.

It is recommended that you always wash salad items and vegetables before use to remove any insects and also any soil which might be present.

If you find insects in other food products, such as in processed foods, please contact us for advice.

Useful forms

Contact details

Email:
Post address:
Food and Safety Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS
Phone: 01332 640779
Minicom: 01332 640666
Fax: 01332 643299
Food and Safety Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS