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Food Establishment Audits Needn’t Be Stressful

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Food Establishment Audits Needn’t Be Stressful

Where personal hygiene and food safety levels are concerned, people tend to have their own idiosyncrasies. Some feel that soap and water is necessary, others that water is enough when washing their hands. Some believe that if food is on the floor for less than 5 seconds it is fine to serve it.

This may be how they work at home but as an employee of a food related business they must adhere to legislation, follow the standards and procedures laid out in a food safety management system and ensure that their actions contribute to a pleasing score when the Food Standards Agency/local authority arrives unannounced to complete a hygiene inspection.

Food establishment audits and legislative measures don’t contain a caveat for ignorance, excuses or extenuating circumstances.

Scores may be appealed but what the hygiene inspector sees on the day of inspection is a snapshot of your everyday working practices so errors, misconceptions and bad habits must be erased prior to an official audit.

In-house audits by management and team leaders without warning is a primary tool to see who is, and who isn’t, following UK and EU regulations.

The official scores with the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme are:

0 – Urgent improvement needed

1 – Major improvement needed

2 – Improvement needed

3 – Generally satisfactory

4 – Good

5 – Very good

Unless your team never breaks a rule and is perfect in every respect, effective management and food hygiene training courses are essential to peace of mind and optimised performance.

You may be reluctant to spend on staff training but a legal prosecution from being the source of E-Coli, Norovirus or contaminated food with a less unpleasant result can cost considerably more in money, time and reputation than investing in food hygiene training.

In this industry, ignorance is not bliss so please contact a leading training firm like Food Alert to harness knowledge. As you should already be aware, every staff member must attend a food safety course and if it has been three years since their last course, a refresher is highly recommended.

This is an outline of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health level 2 (GCSE equivalent) food hygiene course:

  • Legislation.
  • Food safety.
  • Food handling.
  • Temperature control.
  • Hygiene hazards.
  • Safe food storage.
  • Food premises and equipment.
  • Cleaning.
  • Refrigeration, chilling and cold holding.
  • Cooking, hot holding and reheating.

From this course, management and supervisors should take levels 3 and 4 food hygiene courses.

EU regulations state that a food business must utilise an HACCP – Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points – based food safety management system. This preventative food safety system can improve your food establishment audits and practices significantly.

Again, for training please contact an industry specialist. HACCP food hygiene courses address areas including risk management, controls, corrective measures, HACCP’s benefits and 7 principles, contamination and its sources, implementing an HACCP plan and workplace safety.

Taking effective measures now diminishes stress and risks pre-audit. That already proves the worth of the training.

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