Food hygiene legislation make it an offence for anyone to sell or process food for sale which is harmful to health.
The laws place a responsibility on businesses to carry out their activities in a hygienic way and the Councils' food team carries out regular checks on all food establishments in the area to assess whether that food is produced hygienically, in line with food safety legislation.
Those inspection and intervention checks are performed as far as possible without prior notification - during the daytime, evenings and weekends - at any time when food businsses are operating.
To maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of Council resources and in order to minimise any burden on our businesses, low risk businesses receive lighter touch visits and this allows us to target resources at higher risk and non compliant establishments to drive up hygiene standards at those businesses.
You might be surprised to know that an estimated five million people suffer from food poisoning in England and Wales each year and remember that if you run a food business then you have a particular responsibility to protect the health of your customers.
An operator of a food establishment has a responsibility to ensure that the structure of the premises is clean, in good condition, and that suitable equipment is provided for handling, preparing and storing food.
During an inspection, Officers will want to reassure themselves that potential food safety risks have been identified by the business, that there are adequate controls in place to prevent any thing going wrong with food production and records of monitoring of checks made to ensure food is produced hygenically are kept.
The Officers will also assess suitability of training received by managers and food handlers to ensure that they are capable of hygenic food production and handling.
Officers will check that the condition of the premises and equipment is satisfactory.
Food handlers should be appropriately trained, instructed and supervised to carry out their work duties and responsibilities.
Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory, Officers will attempt to resolve the situation by informal means where appropriate, but where poor conditions persist, or where there is a risk to public health it may be necessary to resort to formal action.
This could involve either the service of legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases closure of the business.
Food safety management
There must be suitable controls in place to ensure that food is safe to eat.
From the point of view of a business operator, you must:-
Handle food hygienically
Make sure your premises is maintained in good condition
You must write down how you make sure food is safe and,
- You will also need to keep some records of the checks you carry out to show that procedures are working.
During visits our Officers will explain what you need to do to comply with food hygiene laws.
Many businesses have already recorded their procedures and are keeping records.
If you do not have a suitable system the Food Standards Agency has produced very useful packs for caterers, retailers, childminders and residential homes which you can obtain free of charge. It's called Safer Food Better Business (SFBB).
The SFBB pack of procedures (which includes a diary to record your checks) can be obtained in one of the following ways:
Contact the Food Team to request an SFBB pack for £20.00 + VAT exc postage