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NEWS & VIEWS SPICE BUSINES S


RUSSELL JENNER, AN ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICER AT REIGATE & BANSTEAD BOROUGH COUNCIL, HAS MORE THAN 33 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH FIELD, MUCH OF IT DEALING WITH FOOD SAFETY. RECENTLY RUSSELL FEATURED ON BBC TV’S THE FOOD INSPECTORS, WHERE HE WAS SHOWN INSPECTING VARIOUS FOOD BUSINESSES.


Getting an experienced insight into food safety management


Dealing with food safety issues, and things like ‘scores on the doors’ ratings, is one of the main topics which Spice Business gets contacted by readers about. So we decided to catch up with Russell and get this highly experienced food inspector’s views and advice on the key issues facing restaurant owners and managers in this highly complex, but all-important area of the business.


SPICE BUSINESS: WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES THAT YOU COME ACROSS IN THE SPICE RESTAURANT SECTOR? Russell Jenner: These


restaurants are really no different from other food businesses who struggle to comply with food hygiene laws. The reasons for the low scores across the trade are usually very straightforward


and either come down to a lack of systematic management or lack of training.


Sometimes language can be


a problem, but food hygiene training has come on a long way and good quality affordable training is available in most languages to help business train their staff to handle food hygienically. Because of the high number


of staff who have travelled to work from outside the EU, Asian businesses must ensure their staff are fully trained on EU legal food hygiene practice as soon as they join a business. This is often overlooked. I remember that in one business I inspected, the owner didn’t even know the name of his staff member – let alone find out if they had undertaken any hygiene training! A particularly serious mistake is not having a food safety management system, which is likely to mean a score of no more than one. It’s a simple own goal and Environmental Health Officers do point food businesses to the system called ‘Safer Food Better Business’ which is available for British, Chinese and Asian cuisine. (This can be obtained via the Food Standards Agency website - www.food. gov.uk). Once you have Safer Food Better Business at your restaurant, you must complete the safe methods although inspectors frequently find this has not been done. Another common problem is failing to keep the diary up to date and not doing the opening checks every


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