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HYGIENE UPDATE New Food Hygiene Rules & Regulation

Most Catering business like restaurants and takeaways in the UK like to achieve a five star hygiene rating, and see their business advertised with very good hygiene standards on a national website. Well now this is possible under a new scheme which has been launched by the Government’s Food Standards Agency.

The new Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will soon be the same all over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It

is linked to the requirements of current food safety

regulations (EC 852/2004). Under the rating scheme, Food Safety and Environmental Healthy Officers inspecting food businesses will check how well they comply by scoring standards under three criteria:

• How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored, • The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities, • How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe (e.g. how well they use their HACCP procedures (Hazard analysis and critical control points) or the Safer Food Better Business pack (SFBB)

Many businesses already have difficulty with the management of food safety and record keeping as well as understanding and implement proper procedures. However, the key to success for this new hygiene rating scheme is for businesses to follow their management

system and

inspection by local Council officers, a hygiene rating window sticker and certificate will be issued which can be displayed, and the rating will be advertised on a new website at The new FHRS has been designed to make sure that it is fair to businesses and easily understood by customers. If the business disagrees with the rating they can appeal within 14 days.

When the improvements recommended by the Council have been made, they can ask for a re-inspection and new rating to be given. One of the little understood parts of current food safety laws is that of the ‘due diligence’ which can mean defense. If a business is accused of an offence under food safety regulations, it can use this as a defense if they have taken all reasonable precautions to prevent the offence occurring in the first place. One of the ways of demonstrating reasonable precautions is to have up to date HACCP or SFBB documentation, and records of checks and staff training.

We must also recognise that managing and supervising people at work is a skill which does not come naturally to many people.

Just because you are a good

chef does not mean that you are a good manager, and many people will need help and guidance to develop this skill.

If businesses

want to use the ‘due diligence’ they should ask the following questions:

Does the chef or supervisor understand what checks they should be making, how often, safety management procedures (e.g. HACCP or SFBB) and what action they need to take when standards

are procedures

carefully. This means training staff, especially supervisors, in their procedures; making regular checks to make sure the procedures are being implemented; correcting any failures by staff or equipment; and keeping good records of these checks and any action taken to put things right.

Food safety procedures should cover the handling, preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage of food. They should also cover cleaning, pest and waste control, and the maintenance of the structure, lighting, and washing facilities; all of which are the subject of

the current food safety

regulations. If such procedures are followed, and any failures are put right, the legal requirements will be complied with, and a top hygiene rating of ‘5’ is very likely.

It is very important; therefore, for business owners to make sure that they have HACCP procedures in place, or that they are using something similar, such as the Safer Food Better Business. Staff and supervisors need to be fully trained and instructed in how to use the procedures; what checks to make and how; and what records to keep. All food handlers must have up-to-date food hygiene certification, at the moment NVQ level 2 or equivalent, every three years. At the end of an

26  The Bangladesh Cuisine them when they unacceptable? do not For

example do they check the behaviour of kitchen staff, and correct


procedures properly e.g. do they make sure staff wash their hands correctly, or make sure staff use the right cleaning chemicals and follow the cleaning schedule correctly.

Are records checked regularly by the owner or senior manager to see what action the supervisor or chef has taken when things go wrong, and what has been done to stop any problems happening again?

Do staff have regular discussions, or on the job training sessions, to remind them of the correct procedures? One training session on its own will often not be enough to change bad habits in the kitchen. Staff may need to be reminded several

times before their hygiene behaviour

improves. At the end of the day, good habits ensure good practice, and we achieve the best by practicing good habits.

By Saleh Ahmed BSc (Hons), MSc CIEH trainer Curry & Tandoori | Volume 11 | December 2011

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