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The Food Hygiene Regulations 2006

 

 

A beginner’s guide to Food Safety

The most important food hygiene regulations for business are:

·      Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs

·      The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 (and equivalent regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)

These set out the basic hygiene requirements for all aspects of a catering business, from premises and facilities to the personal hygiene of staff.

One of the key requirements of the law is that we must be able to show what we do to make or sell food that is safe to eat and have this written down. Details of these food safety management procedures are described below.

 

Food safety management procedures

We must put in place ‘food safety management procedures’ based on the principles of HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point).

We must also:

·               keep these in place permanently

·               keep up-to-date documents and records relating to your procedures

·               review your procedures if you change what you produce or how you work

In practice, this means that we must have procedures in place to manage food safety ‘hazards’ in business. This is similar to the previous legal requirements, but we must now write these procedures down, update them as needed and keep records that can be checked by your local authority.

The regulations are designed to be flexible, so these procedures can be in proportion to the size of your business and the type of work you do. This means that many small businesses will be able to have very simple procedures and simple records.

 

What is HACCP?

HACCP is a way of managing food safety. It is based on putting in place procedures to control hazards. It involves:

·               Looking closely at what we do in your business and what could go wrong

·               Identifying the ‘critical control points’ – these are the places we need to focus on to prevent hazards or reduce them to an acceptable level

·               Putting in place procedures to make sure hazards are controlled at the critical control points

·               Deciding what action we need to take if something goes wrong

·               Making sure that the procedures are working

·               Keeping appropriate records to show your procedures are working

Some people think that HACCP is very complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. The important thing is to have food safety management procedures that are appropriate for your business.

 

What is a hazard?

A hazard is something that could be dangerous. There are lots of different hazards. When we talk about hazards in relation to food, a hazard is something that could mean that food will not be safe to eat.

Food safety hazards can be:

·               microbiological – involving harmful bacteria, e.g. when certain foods are kept out of the fridge for too long and bacteria grow in them

·               chemical – involving chemicals getting into food, e.g. cleaning products or pest control chemicals

·               physical – involving objects getting into food, e.g. broken glass or pieces of packaging

Hazards can happen at any stage in the business – from taking deliveries to serving customers 

 

How do we put in place food safety management procedures?

Some businesses will already have suitable procedures in place, so they can continue to use those. If we do not have procedures in place, we can develop our own procedures based on the principles of HACCP.

 

Do all catering businesses and shops selling food need to put in place these procedures?

Almost all will need to put in place these procedures, but it may not be necessary in some businesses with very simple processes. In this case, businesses can comply with the legal requirement by following good hygiene practice. They would still need to comply with the other requirements described in this booklet. Contact your local authority for advice.

 

Registering a business

We must register our business premises with the local authority if we have not registered them already. If we are going to open new business premises, we should register them at least 28 days before opening. If we use premises in more than one place, we need to register all of them.

We must also:

·               make sure the local authority always has up-to-date information about the premises

·               tell the local authority if what we do in our business changes significantly

·               We must have an adequate number of washbasins, suitably located and used only for cleaning hands.

·               Washbasins for cleaning hands must have hot and cold running water, and materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying.

·               Where necessary, we should have a separate sink for washing food.

 

Ventilation

·               We must have enough ventilation, either natural (e.g. opening windows or vents) or mechanical (e.g. extractor fans).

·               Ventilation systems must be constructed to allow access to clean or replace filters and other parts.

·               Toilets must have enough ventilation, either natural or mechanical.

 

Other requirements

·               We must have adequate lighting, either natural (daylight) and/or artificial (electric light).

·               Drainage facilities must be adequate for the purpose intended. They must be designed and constructed to avoid the risk of contamination.

·               We must provide adequate facilities for staff to change their clothes, where necessary.

·               We must not store cleaning chemicals and disinfectants in areas where food is handled.

 

Rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed

There are special requirements for rooms where we prepare, or process food. These do not include dining rooms.

The design and layout of the room must allow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination between and during tasks.

 

Floors

·               Floor surfaces must be maintained in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.

·               This means that floor surfaces need to be made of materials that are impervious (i.e. do not allow fluid to pass through), non-absorbent, washable and non-toxic, unless we can satisfy the local authority that other materials are appropriate.

·               Where appropriate, floors must allow adequate surface drainage.

 

Walls

·               Wall surfaces must be maintained in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.

·               This means that wall surfaces need to be made of materials that are impervious (i.e. do not allow fluid to pass through), non-absorbent, washable and non-toxic, and must be smooth up to a height appropriate for the work you do, unless you can satisfy your local authority that other materials are appropriate.

 

Ceilings

Ceilings (or, where there are no ceilings, the interior surface of the roof) and overhead fixtures must be constructed and finished in a way that prevents dirt from building up and reduces condensation, the growth of undesirable mould and the shedding of particles.

 

Windows

·               Windows and other openings must be constructed to prevent dirt from building up.

·               Windows and other openings (e.g. doors) that can be opened onto the outside must be fitted, where necessary, with insect-proof screens that can be easily removed for cleaning.

·               Where open windows would cause contamination, windows must remain closed and fixed while you are producing food.

 

Doors

·               Doors must be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.

·               This means that the surface of doors needs to be smooth and non-absorbent, unless we can satisfy the local authority that other materials are appropriate.

 

Surfaces

·               Surfaces (including surfaces of equipment) in areas where food is handled, particularly those that are touched by food, must be maintained in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.

·               This means that surfaces need to be made of materials that are smooth, washable, corrosion-resistant and non-toxic, unless we can satisfy the local authority that other materials are appropriate.

 

Washing equipment and food

·               We must have adequate facilities, where necessary, for cleaning, disinfecting and storing utensils and equipment.  These facilities need to be made of corrosion-resistant materials, be easy to clean and have an adequate supply of hot and cold water.

·               We must have adequate facilities, where necessary, for washing food. Every sink (or other facilities) for washing food must have an adequate supply of hot and/or cold water.  The water must be ‘potable’ (drinking quality). These facilities must be kept clean and, where necessary, disinfected.

 

Transport

·               Vehicles and/or containers used to transport foods must be kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition, to protect foods from contamination. Where necessary, they must be designed and constructed to allow adequate cleaning and/or disinfection.

·               Items used to hold food (e.g. boxes) in vehicles and/or containers must not be used for transporting anything other than foods where this may cause contamination.

·               Where vehicles and/or containers are used for transporting anything other than foods, or for transporting different foods at the same time, you must separate products effectively, where necessary.

·               Foods transported in bulk as liquids, granules or powder must be transported in items used only to hold foods and/or containers/tankers used only for transporting foods. These containers must be marked in a way that is clearly visible and ‘indelible’ (i.e. cannot be rubbed out/removed), in one or more European Community languages (including English), to show that they are used for transporting foods, or be marked ‘for foodstuffs only’.

·               Where vehicles and/or containers have been used for transporting anything other than foods or for transporting different foods, you must clean effectively between loads to avoid the risk of contamination.

·               Foods in vehicles and/or containers must be placed and protected in a way that minimises the risk of contamination.

·               Where necessary, vehicles and/or containers used for transporting foods must be capable of keeping foods at appropriate temperatures and allow those temperatures to be monitored.

 

Equipment

All items, fittings and equipment that food touches must be:

·               effectively cleaned and, where necessary disinfected, frequently enough to avoid any risk of contamination

·               constructed, made of appropriate materials and kept in good order, repair and condition, in a way that minimises any risk of contamination

·               constructed, made of appropriate materials and kept in good order, repair and condition in a way that enables them to be kept clean and, where necessary, to be disinfected, except for non-returnable containers and packaging

·               installed in a way that allows adequate cleaning of the equipment and the surrounding area

·               Fitted, where necessary, with an appropriate ‘control device’ (e.g. a temperature sensor) If ‘chemical additives’ have to be used to prevent the corrosion of equipment and containers, these must be used in accordance with good practice.

 

Food waste

·               We must remove food waste and other rubbish from rooms where food is present as quickly as possible, to avoid them building up.

·               We must put food waste and other rubbish in containers that can be closed, unless we can satisfy the local authority that other types of containers or systems of disposing of waste are appropriate. These containers must be of appropriate construction, kept in sound condition, be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.

·               We must have adequate facilities for storing and disposing of food waste and other rubbish.

·               Stores for waste must be designed and managed in a way that enables them to be kept clean and, where necessary, free of animals and pests.

·               We must get rid of all waste in a hygienic and environmentally friendly way, in accordance with EC legislation. (There are rules about the way certain types of food waste must be collected and disposed of – contact the local authority for details.)

·               The waste must not be a direct or indirect source of contamination (e.g. touching surfaces that food is prepared on, or attracting pests).

 

Water supply

·               The premise must have an adequate supply of ‘potable’ (drinking quality) water, which is to be used whenever necessary to ensure that foods are not contaminated.

·               Where ‘non-potable’ water (i.e. not of drinking quality) is used in the business, for example for fire control, steam production, refrigeration and other similar purposes, it must circulate in a separate, identified system. It must not connect with, or be able to get into, the systems for ‘potable’ (drinking quality) water.

·               If recycled water is used in processing or as an ingredient, it must not present a risk of contamination. It must be of the same standard as potable (drinking quality) water, unless we can satisfy the local authority that the quality of the water cannot affect how safe the food is to eat in its finished form.

·               Ice that is touched by food, or may contaminate food (including drinks), must be made from ‘potable’ (drinking quality) water. Ice must be made, handled and stored in ways that protect it from contamination.

·               Steam that is used directly in contact with food must not contain any substance that presents a hazard to health or is likely to contaminate the food.

·               If we heat foods in hermetically sealed containers (containers that are specially sealed to be airtight), we must make sure that the water we use to cool the containers after heat treatment is not a source of contamination for the food.

 

Personal hygiene

Every person working in a food-handling area must maintain a high level of personal cleanliness. He or she must wear suitable, clean clothing and, where necessary, protective clothing.

·               Staff should keep hair tied back and wear a suitable head covering, e.g. hat or hairnet, when preparing food.

·               Staff should not wear watches or jewellery when preparing food (except a wedding band).

·               Staff should not touch their face and hair, smoke, spit, sneeze, eat or chew gum when they are handling food.

 

Fitness for work

We must not allow anyone to handle food or enter a food handling area if they:

·               are suffering from, or carrying, a disease likely to be transmitted through food

·               have infected wounds, skin infections, sores

·               have diarrhoea

Anyone working in a food business, who is affected by any of these and is likely to come into contact with food through their work, must tell the business owner or manager immediately about the illness or symptoms and, if possible, what has caused them.

Staff with diarrhoea or vomiting should not return to work until they have had no symptoms for 48 hours.

 

Hand washing

Effective hand washing is extremely important to help prevent harmful bacteria from spreading from people’s hands to food, work surfaces, equipment etc. Make sure that all staff that work with food wash their hands properly:

·               when entering the food handling area, e.g. after a break or going to the toilet

·               before preparing food

·               after touching raw food, such as meat/poultry and eggs

·               after handling food waste or emptying a bin

·               after cleaning

·               after blowing their nose

Don’t forget that staff should dry hands thoroughly on a disposable towel – harmful bacteria can spread more easily if your hands are wet or damp.

 

Foods

·               A business must not accept raw materials or ingredients, or any other material used in processing products, if they are known to be, or might reasonably be expected to be, contaminated in a way that means the final product would be unfit for human consumption.

·               A business must store raw materials and all ingredients in appropriate conditions, designed to prevent harmful deterioration and protect them from contamination.

·               At all stages of production, processing and distribution, we must protect food against any contamination likely to make it unfit for human consumption, harmful to health or contaminated in a way that means it would be unreasonable to expect it to be eaten in that state.

·               A business must have adequate procedures to control pests and to prevent domestic animals (pets) from getting into places where food is prepared, handled or stored. If your local authority permits domestic animals, in special cases, you must have adequate procedures to prevent this from causing contamination.

·               Hazardous and/or inedible substances must be adequately labelled and stored in separate and secure containers.

A business also needs to make sure that the food it makes or sells complies with specific ‘microbiological criteria’. These criteria put limits on the levels of certain bacteria that are allowed to be in foods. In practice, most small catering businesses and small food shops may not need to do any testing of the levels of bacteria in the food they make or sell. But we must be able to show that we have suitable food safety management procedures in place that control the levels of bacteria in food.

 

Temperature

·               A business must not keep foods at temperatures that might cause a risk to health (see below).

·               The ‘cold chain’ must not be interrupted for foods that rely on temperature control for their safety. However, we are allowed to have foods outside temperature control for limited periods of time to allow us to prepare, transport, store, display and serve food, as long as this does not cause a risk to health.

·               If we manufacture, handle and wrap processed foods, we must have suitable rooms, large enough to store raw materials and processed materials separately, and enough separate refrigerated storage.

·               If foods are going to be kept or served at chilled temperatures, we must cool them as quickly as possible after cooking (or other heat processing), or after final preparation if we are not heating the foods, to a temperature that does not cause a risk to health (see below).

Cold foods… must be kept at 8°C or below.

This is a legal requirement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland food must also be kept cold.

Hot foods… must be kept at 63°C or above.

This is a legal requirement throughout the UK.

When we reheat food, make sure that it is piping hot all the way through. In Scotland, there is a legal requirement for reheated foods to reach at least 82°C.

 

Service and display

When we are serving or displaying food, you can keep it out of temperature control for a limited period of time:

·               Cold foods can be kept above 8°C for up to four hours. A business should only do this once. If any food is left after this time, it should be thrown away or kept chilled at 8°C or below until it is used.

·               Hot foods can be kept below 63°C for up to two hours. We should only do this once. If any food is left after this time, weshould throw it away, reheat it to 63°C or above, or cool it as quickly as possible to 8°C or below. Remember to keep the food at a safe temperature until it is used.

Remember we should only do this if we need to and it is very important not to keep food out of temperature control for longer than these times.

 

Defrosting

·               If we defrost any foods we must do this in a way that minimises the risk of harmful bacteria growing, or toxins forming, in the foods. While they are being defrosted, we must keep foods at a temperature that would not result in a risk to health.

·               Where liquid coming from the defrosting food may present a risk to health (e.g. when defrosting raw meat) we must drain it off adequately.

·               Following defrosting, food must be handled in a way that minimises the risk of harmful bacteria growing or toxins forming (e.g. keeping it in the fridge).

 

Wrapping and packaging

If we wrap or package foods as part of our business (including selling food to take away) then we must follow these requirements.

·               Material used for wrapping and packaging must not be a source of contamination.

·               We must store wrapping materials so they are not exposed to a risk of contamination.

·               We must carry out wrapping and packaging in a way that avoids contamination of products.

·               We must make sure, where appropriate, that the container is clean and not damaged, particularly if we use cans and/or glass jars.

·               If we re-use any wrapping and/or packaging material for foods, it must be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.

 

Training

Food businesses must make sure that any staff who handle food are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene in a way that is appropriate for the work they do.

The person or people responsible for developing and maintaining the business’s food safety management procedures, based on the principles of HACCP must have received adequate training to enable them to do this.

There is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course or get a qualification, although many businesses may want their staff to do so. The necessary skills could also be obtained in other ways, such as through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience.

To find out more visit:  www.ice-training.com

 

Movable and temporary premises

The requirements for movable and/or temporary premises, are different to those explained above.   But the requirements in the rest of this booklet still apply. Movable and/or temporary premises include marquees, market stalls, mobile vans, vending machines and people’s homes where food is regularly prepared to be sold or given to the public 

Premises and vending machines must be positioned, designed, constructed and kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition in a way that avoids the risk of contamination, particularly from animals and pests, as far as reasonably practical.

Where necessary:

·               A business must have appropriate facilities to maintain adequate personal hygiene, including facilities to wash and dry hands hygienically, hygienic toilet facilities and changing facilities.

·               Surfaces that are touched by food must be in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect. This means that they need to be made of materials that are smooth, washable, corrosion-resistant and non-toxic, unless we can satisfy your local authority that other materials are appropriate.

·               We must have adequate facilities for the cleaning and, where necessary, disinfecting of working utensils and equipment.

·               If we wash or clean foods as part of your business, then we must have adequate facilities to do this hygienically.

·               We must have an adequate supply of hot and/or cold water that is ‘potable’ (drinking quality).

·               We must have adequate arrangements and/or facilities to store and dispose of hygienically any hazardous and/or inedible substances, and waste (whether liquid or solid).

·               Wemust have adequate facilities and/or arrangements for keeping food at suitable temperatures and monitoring these.

·               We must place foods in a way that avoids the risk of contamination as far as reasonably practical.

 

Where necessary:

·               We must have appropriate facilities to maintain adequate personal hygiene, including facilities to wash and dry hands hygienically, hygienic toilet facilities and changing facilities.

·               Surfaces that are touched by food must be in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect. This means that they need to be made of materials that are smooth, washable, corrosion-resistant and non-toxic, unless you can satisfy your local authority that other materials are appropriate.

·               We must have adequate facilities for the cleaning and, where necessary, disinfecting of working utensils and equipment.

·               If we wash or clean foods as part of our business, then we must have adequate facilities to do this hygienically.

·                We must have an adequate supply of hot and/or cold water that is ‘potable’ (drinking quality).

·               We must have adequate arrangements and/or facilities to store and dispose of hygienically any hazardous and/or inedible substances, and waste (whether liquid or solid).

·               We must have adequate facilities and/or arrangements for keeping food at suitable temperatures and monitoring these.

·               We must place foods in a way that avoids the risk of contamination as far as reasonably practical.

  

Good food hygiene

Good food hygiene is essential for us to make or sell food that is safe to eat. So even though there might not be a specific legal requirement behind each tip in this section, it is still very important for a business and its staff to understand what good food hygiene is and to follow this advice.

Good food hygiene helps a business to:

·               obey the law

·               reduce the risk of food poisoning among your customers

·               protect your business’s reputation

 

Good food hygiene is all about controlling harmful bacteria, which can cause serious illness. The four main things to remember for good hygiene are:

·               Cross-contamination

·               Cleaning

·               Chilling

·               Cooking

These are known as the 4 Cs. They will help a business prevent the most common food safety problems.

 

Cross-contamination

Cross-contamination is when bacteria are spread between food, surfaces or equipment. It is most likely to happen when raw food touches (or drips onto) ready-to-eat food, equipment or surfaces.

Cross-contamination is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Do the following things to avoid it: 

·               Clean work surfaces, chopping boards and equipment thoroughly before we start preparing food and after we have used them to prepare raw food.

·               Ideally, use different chopping boards and knives for raw and ready-to-eat food.

·               Wash hands before preparing food.

·               Wash hands thoroughly after touching raw food.

·               Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart at all times.

·               Store raw food below ready-to-eat food in the fridge. If possible, use separate fridges for raw and ready-to-eat food.

·               Make sure that staff know how to avoid cross-contamination.

 

Cleaning

Effective cleaning gets rid of bacteria on hands, equipment and surfaces. So it helps to stop harmful bacteria from spreading onto food. Do the following things:

·               Make sure that all staff wash and dry their hands thoroughly before handling food.

·               Clean food areas and equipment between different tasks, especially after handling raw food.

·               Clear and clean as you go. Clear away used equipment, spilt food etc. as we work and clean work surfaces thoroughly.

 

Chilling

Chilling food properly helps to stop harmful bacteria from growing. Some foods need to be kept chilled to keep them safe, for example food with a ‘use by’ date, cooked dishes and other ready-to-eat food such as prepared salads and desserts.

It is very important not to leave these types of food standing around at room temperature. So, make sure staff do the following things:

·               Check chilled food on delivery to make sure it is cold enough.

·               Put food that needs to be kept chilled in the fridge straight away.

·               Cool cooked food as quickly as possible and then put it in the fridge.

·               Keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation.

·               Check regularly that your fridge and display units are cold enough.

 

Cooking

Thorough cooking kills harmful bacteria in food. So it is extremely important to make sure that food is cooked properly. When cooking or reheating food, always check that it is piping hot all the way through.

It is especially important to make sure that staff thoroughly cook poultry and pork, rolled joints and products made from minced meat, such as burgers and sausages. This is because there could be bacteria in the middle of these types of products. They should not be served pink or rare and should

be piping hot all the way through. Whole cuts of meat (such as steaks) and whole joints of beef and lamb can be served pink/rare as long as they are fully sealed on the outside.