Food safety advice
The following areas are key topics food businesses will need to consider in relation to food hygiene and food safety. These topics will not apply to all businesses and this is not an exhaustive list. Businesses may need to consider other areas to ensure the food they are producing is safe.
In line with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure)(England) Regulations 2020 all businesses that sell food or drink for consumption on the premises must close with immediate effect.
Failure to comply with the legislation may result in a Prohibition Notice being served preventing you from operating as well as a prosecution and unlimited fine.
Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food. At the moment businesses that provide a takeaway or delivery service are still able to operate. We understand that some businesses may wish to start providing a takeaway service or delivery service and may have questions in relation to how they should operate.
If you are changing how you are operating then you should think through the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place for infection control and food safety.
You must consider the risks associated with infection control to ensure that yourself, employees and members of the public are not infected and are not spreading the infection. You must also ensure there are procedures in place in relation to social distancing within your business premises and whilst your employees are delivering food to your customers.
You must ensure you have a supply of soap for hand washing and antibacterial cleaner to enable you to clean and sanitise your preparation surfaces. All food businesses should have a cleaning schedule in place regardless of the COVID-19 emergency. During the current emergency cleaning of all hand contact points is even more important as is using the correct type of disinfectant.
Further advice is available from COVID-19 Advice to food businesses
Please note the situation is constantly changing please continue to refer to GOV.UK for the latest available information.
You must ensure that anyone who handles food within your business is supervised and instructed and or trained to a level which is appropriate for the work that they do. The training should be equivalent to level 2 in food hygiene.
They must know how to make sure that food is handled, prepared and served without the risk of food being contaminated or causing food poisoning.
The Food Standards Agency has produced a series of short food safety coaching videos showing you how to keep food safe.
Food management is about the procedures and systems you have put into place to make sure the food your business is producing is safe to eat.
Food businesses must put into place procedures based upon Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). These procedures must be documented (recorded in writing) and up to date records relating to these procedures must be kept. Procedures must be reviewed on a regular basis or if there are any changes to the business.
The Food Standards Agency has produced a document called 'Safer food, Better Business' to help businesses meet this requirement. You can either download and print a copy from their website or you can buy a printed copy from us for £18. Payment will need to be made online and a printed copy will be sent to you.
You must complete the document to reflect your food safety procedures, including details of who supplies your ingredients and any business you supply with your products.
You can also use the diary section at the back of the pack to record your opening and closing checks. Diary refills are also available to download and print from the Food Standards Agency website.
A yearly Food Safety Diary which can be used for recording your temperature, opening and closing checks is also available to buy from us for £13. Payment will need to be made online and a printed copy will be sent to you.
There is also the Assured Safe Catering style of food safety management which some businesses may find easier to use. There is an Assured Safe Catering completed example and an Assured Safe Catering blank template which can be used to produce your own system.
Food businesses must follow the E.coli O157 guidance produced by the Food Standards Agency. Please visit the Food Standards Agency website to view the E.Coli 0157 guidance document, for practical advice please visit E.Coli O157 guidance.
Chilled foods must be kept at 8oC or below, an air temperature of 5oC or below should help keep foods at the correct temperature. Cooked or reheated foods must reach 70oC for 2 minutes or 75oC for 30 seconds or equivalent. Hot food must then be kept above 63oC until served.
If using a temperature probe to check the temperature of foods, it must be cleaned using antibacterial probe wipes as part of a two stage clean. Checks will also need to be done to make sure the probe is working correctly. A simple way to check would be to put in iced water, the probe should read between 1oC and -1oC, and into boiling water, the probe should read between 99oC and 101oC.
Cold food can be kept outside temperature control for one single period of up to four hours. After this time the food needs to be returned to below 8oC or thrown away. This food cannot be stored outside temperature control again.
Hot food can be stored below 63oC for one single period of up two hours. After this time it needs to be returned to above 63oC or below 8oC. It cannot be stored outside temperature control again.
If using either of these temperature exemptions there must be a documented safe procedure in place.
A manufacturers use by date is the date the manufacturer guarantees the product’s safety. It is a criminal offence to sell or use any food past the use by date. You must check your fridges on a daily basis to ensure that food past the use by date is not stored and is thrown away.
Ideally you should not freeze foods with a use by date. If caterers freeze food with a use by date there must be a safe procedure in place to ensure the use by date of the food is not extended. The food must be frozen before the use by date expires and be clearly marked with the date of freezing and the date of defrosting.
Businesses must also follow the manufacturers instructions for the storage and use of food. Many foods have a use by date which becomes active once opened and must be followed.
As a general rule, food prepared by a business should be given a maximum shelf life of the day of production plus 2 days. To ensure food is not used past this date a date labelling system should be used.
Further information on shelf life is available from the Food and Drink Federation Industry Guidance on Setting Product Shelf Life
Allergen labelling rules require food businesses that provide non-pre-packed foods or loose foods to identify any allergenic ingredients.
The Trading Standards team provide guidance relating to labelling and allergen information.
Allergen guidance, including menu charts and online training, is available from the Food Standards Agency's website.
British Standard BS 6465-1:2006 provides guidance for the required numbers of toilets, dependant on the use of the premises. Toilets must not open directly onto food preparation areas.
Please contact us to discuss how many toilets you need.
Domestic kitchens can be used for a catering business. Your business will be included in the Council’s routine food hygiene inspection programme. The following information will help you comply with food hygiene legislation.
Before trading as a home caterer, you must understand the basic principles of food hygiene and the safe handling of food. A formal qualification is not a legal requirement but having a Level 2 Food Safety in Catering Certificate, or equivalent, is recommended.
You will need to register your business with us but there is no fee for this process.
Food safety management
Some of the most common causes of food poisoning are:
- Poor storage
- Inappropriate temperature control
- Inadequate cleaning
- Not separating raw and ready to eat foods
- identify steps in your business that are critical to ensuring food safety
- Having identified those steps you must ensure that adequate safety procedures are identified, implemented, maintained and reviewed in order to control the potential food hazards.
These controls may include temperature control, cleaning, avoiding cross contamination, thorough cooking of food, personal hygiene.
Make sure you use reputable suppliers and have full traceability in place.
Consider how you will be transporting food to your customers.
This process will form your Food Safety Management System. High risk food businesses are required to have a written food safety management system.
The Foods Standards Agency has produced a document called ‘Safer Food, Better Business’ to help businesses complete this task. Versions are available for different types of catering.
Visit the Food Standards Agency to download a copy of ‘Safer Food, Better Business’ and the diary refill pages. Alternatively you can produce your own written food safety procedures.
Books are also available to buy through the Council's eStore, ‘Safer Food, Better Business’ is £18 per copy and a Yearly Food Safety Record is £13 per copy
If you handle/prepare raw meat or items potentially contaminated with soil in your kitchen at any time you must have regard to the Food Standards Agency E. coli guidance when using the kitchen to prepare/handle food in connection with your business. It is important to store and prepare food safely and clean correctly to prevent cross-contamination. View the Council's E. coli guidance or visit the Food Standards Agency's E. coli cross-contamination guidance. The guidance focuses on E. coli but the steps taken to avoid cross contamination will also help control other foodborne bacteria.
Antibacterial/disinfectant products must be British Standard or equivalent. View a list of compliant disinfectants.
If you are to cater at events you may find the Council’s Guide to food safety for event catering useful. Please contact us if you would like a copy.
Domestic kitchens are not designed for commercial use. The way you use your kitchen may need to be altered for the business activities.
A separate wash basin should be available for hand washing. This could be a half bowl attached to a sink or an accessible wash basin in a downstairs toilet. The wash basin must be provided with hot and cold running water, soap and a hygienic means of hand drying. If a half bowl or downstairs toilet wash basin is not available then using the sink for hand washing and a separate bowl in the sink for washing equipment may be accepted.
Toilets or bathrooms must not open directly on to the kitchen
Amongst the things to consider are the following –
You must ensure that:
- there are sufficient sinks for cleaning equipment and washing food
- you have adequate space, worktops and separate equipment/utensils to prevent cross contamination. Raw and ready to eat foods must be strictly separated.
- you have enough storage and refrigeration space for the volumes of food you intend to produce.
- family use of the kitchen (for example, by children, pets or other people) is separate from business use. You will need to make sure other domestic activities (such as laundry) do not compromise food safety.
- your kitchen is kept free from pests, rodents and other sources of contamination
Allergen labelling rules require food businesses that provide non-pre-packed foods or loose foods to identify any allergenic ingredients.
Allergen guidance, including menu charts and online training, can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.
Before trading you must contact Derby City Council Licensing Team to ensure you can trade where you want to.
Food hygiene and food safety advice for mobile traders is available from Mobile catering guidance leaflet.
Food and hygiene advice for event catering is available from Guide to food safety for event catering
All businesses must have arrangements in place to dispose of their commercial waste.
Commercial waste is any rubbish which is generated through a business.
Waste must be stored in suitable containers to stop it from escaping the control of the business.
Businesses must either:
- arrange to have a trade waste contract where rubbish is collected by an authorised waste carrier
- take waste to an authorised site for disposal themselves.
If you are taking waste to an authorised site yourself you must register as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency, even if you are only transporting your own waste. Further information is available from the Environment Agency website.
When you dispose of your waste a waste transfer note will be issued, these need to be kept for a minimum of two years.
It is against the law for businesses to place any commercial waste into residential bins.
News and updates from the Food and Safety Team will be published here, providing information for businesses on food hygiene and health and safety.
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