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Health and Hygiene basics for food businesses
by Startacus Admin
The importance of health and hygiene to any food business critical.
Food businesses are one of the most common ways that people take the leap into self employment, but the legislation and legal issues surrounding the preparation and sale of food in the UK is so comprehensive, that starting out in this industry can be daunting to say the least.
The key to keeping your head above water on these issues, is to understand the rules which exist and the reasons for them, as well as making sure that you keep up to date with any changes that take place. Isn’t it a good thing we are here to serve up some advice and good old fashioned common sense?
Contact Your Local Authority
This should be done well in advance of when you plan to open to allow enough time for the necessary procedures and legislations to be completed. Your local authority will help you with a number of things, which are necessary in order to get your food business off the ground including; registration, waste management and collection, and access to training.
Register your food business with the Environmental Health Service
The vast majority of food related businesses must be registered with the Environmental Health Service of their local authority. Registration is free, but must be carried out at least 28 days before you plan to open, so it is vital that you take this step well in advance of when you begin trading to avoid any delays.
A representative from the local authority will carry out an inspection of the premises to make sure that they measure up to all legislations. You can register, either by contacting your local authority and enquiring about their policies, or you can download and submit a general application form which can be found here.
Food Safety and Qualifications
Whilst there are no legally required qualifications to own or work in a food business in the UK, it is essential that you and any staff you have understand the principles of food hygiene.
The Level 2 Certificate in Food Hygiene is a useful qualification to have, since it covers many of the factors and principles which are essential to minimizing the risk of food safety issues.
Food safety and hygiene is one of the most important aspects of running a food business and the government has laid out extensive guidance regarding all aspects, including; cross contamination, cleaning, cooking and chilling. You can find a detailed summary of this guidance by clicking here
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
This is a legally required, daily documented food hygiene management system which follows the rules of hazard analysis to help ensure that you are following the best possible practices.
You will be required to maintain ongoing records of a number of critical food safety factors including; cooking temperature, fridge temperature and meat deliveries and present these logs when requested to do so during an inspection.
As a food businesses updating and maintaining your HACCP will become part of daily life, so it is important that you get your head around the details as early as possible.
If you need some help with creating and maintaining your HACCP records the food standards agency has some really good advice here.
Food hygiene ratings
Even if you don’t run a food related business, you will have no doubt noticed the new food hygiene rating system which has been introduced over the course of recent years. This system awards businesses a food hygiene score of between 0 and 5 (5 being “very good” and 0 being “urgent improvement needed”).
In England and Northern Ireland the public display of these ratings is optional, but in Wales a premises is legally obliged to give their food hygiene rating a prominent display, and provide additional information to their customers if requested.
For the most up to date government advice on all of these issues, you can visit the Safer Food Better Business section of the Food Standards agency website, where there are a number of helpful downloads available.
You might also like to take a look at some of these food business related guides
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