Food safety management
Everyone who runs a food business needs to manage food safety properly, to make sure that the food they serve or sell is safe to eat. Effective food safety management involves:
- food preparation arrangements
- working out what could go wrong
- putting procedures and controls in place to stop things going wrong
- making regular checks to make sure the controls are working and are being followed
You must be able to show how you produce safe food and have this written down.
Look at every stage of your business, from when the food is delivered to when you serve or sell it to your customer. The most common food safety problems can be controlled by good food hygiene - the '4 Cs', Cooking, Cleaning, Chilling and Cross Contamination. The food standards agency has designed its 'Safer Food Better Business' food safety management toolkit to enable caterers to practically control hazards using the principles of the 4 Cs. This can be found by visiting the Safer food, better business for caterers page on the Food Standards Agency website.
Remember, different dishes will have different hazards associated with them, and will require different checks and controls. It is a good idea for you or your staff to keep records of your main safety checks. This will help you see if something is going wrong and put in right straight away. The records will also help you show environmental health officers what you are doing to ensure good food hygiene and obey the law. For example, you could make a note when you check the following things:
- use by and best before dates on food
- delivery temperatures
- fridge and freezer temperatures
Useful sheets that can be used to record your food safety monitoring can be downloaded below:
Delivery monitoring sheet(PDF) [143 kb]
Equipment monitoring sheet(PDF) [178 kb]
Temperature monitoring sheet(PDF) [122 kb]
Food safety alerts
The Food Standards Agency issues a 'Product Withdrawal Information Notice' or a 'Product Recall Information Notice' to let local authorities and consumers know about problems associated with food. To view the latest warnings please visit the Food Standards Agency website.
Food safety law affects all food businesses, including caterers, primary producers (such as farmers), manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
How the legislation affects you will depend on the size and type of your business. There are a number of regulations from the European community, which apply directly to food businesses in the UK, and also national legislation in England.
You'll also find links to Safer Food Better Business on this website. This is the food safety management pack designed to help caterers comply with the law.
The Food Standards Agency has a wealth of guidance for businesses on the requirements of food safety regulations available on their website.