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Introduction to Food Hygiene

According to Wikipedia “Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. In this way, food safety often overlaps with food defence to prevent harm to consumers. The tracks within this line of thought are safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer. In considering industry to market practices, food safety considerations include the origins of food including the practices relating to food labelling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as policies on biotechnology and food and guidelines for the management of governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods. In considering the market to consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer.”

What the law says

The basic hygiene requirements for all aspects of your business, from your premises and facilities to the personal hygiene of your staff.

One of the key requirements of the law is that you must be able to show what you 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

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

      • 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 you must have procedures in place to manage food safety ‘hazards’ in your business. You must 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 have very simple procedures and records.

If you handle both raw and ready-to-eat food you may need to consider extra procedures to control harmful bacteria

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 you doing your business and what could go wrong.
  • Identifying the ‘critical control points’ – these are the places you 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 your critical control points.
  • Deciding what action you need to take if something goes wrong.
  • Making sure that your 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

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