The Food Standard’s Agency has pioneered a scheme for food hygiene which local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland maintain. It monitors how proficient restaurants, pubs, takeaways, food shops and other establishments that provide food are at managing food hygiene. They send inspectors into the establishment and assess them on a number of points before awarding them with a rating. It’s the law. You can’t avoid them!
Food hygiene training
Education is key so it is imperative to enrol staff and management on food hygiene courses at the earliest opportunity so that every member of the team is fully aware of their responsibilities and can employ the best practices.
Please don’t ignore your legal obligations because it could cost you dearly.
Companies like Food Alert in London offer various training course options which make informing staff and management about every aspect of food hygiene a simple and effective process.
What do the Food Safety Officers Look At?
- The state of the premises, are they clean with good lighting and ventilation? They will also consider the layout of the premises to check that these are sensible and minimise risk on site.
- How hygienically the establishment handles food preparation, cooking, reheating, storage and cooling of food items.
- How the business monitors the food and maintains records. Is there an efficient system in place so that when food can no longer legally be used it will not be served accidentally?
The food standards officer will issue a rating to the establishment from 0 to 5.
0 – Urgent improvement needed
1 – Major improvement needed
2 – Improvement needed
3 – Generally satisfactory
4 – Good
5 – Very good
Any business has the potential to be marked as very good and to achieve a 5. The ratings scheme is really a matter of following good practices and being aware of food hygiene responsibilities.
Everyone can see your rating.
Your rating sticker must be displayed on site and clients can go online to view ratings (there’s no app yet but don’t rule this out for the future) so if you achieve a less than pleasing 1 or 0 then your eatery is at an immediate disadvantage. The poor hygiene rating will send them away.
Which would you rather have for your business, a very good rating and solid reputation or a lower rating and a questionable reputation which costs your business?
Food hygiene courses
It’s vital to invest in food hygiene courses that will provide the knowledge to obtain a better rating and the investment will far exceed the amount of business that could be lost by being cavalier about food hygiene.
Not all food hygiene courses are at an external location, e-learning courses are becoming very popular thanks to their flexibility and student self-management. Students can study on their tablet or smartphone just as easily as on a desktop computer and achieve their empowering pass.
Act positively or face a 0!