Every food operator needs to have something written down about the steps they take to keep food safe. This is at every stage from food delivery, storage, handling, preparation and service and is called a Food Safety Management System. Having something written down shows that food safety procedures have been thought through carefully and are being properly applied. You can use it to train staff on your procedures and when used properly, will help to give you a better food hygiene rating score.
A link to the Amber Valley Food Safety Management System is listed on the right of this page. However if you handle both raw and ready to eat food you will have to review the System in line with the Food Standards Agency Guidance below.
When a business handles both raw and ready to eat food there is a risk of cross-contamination and the food safety management system should include how this is prevented. The Food Standards Agency has released guidance on controlling cross contamination of E. coli O157, which if followed will also help in the control of other bacteria, such as campylobacter and salmonella. This was released after inquiries into food poisoning outbreaks in Scotland in 1996 and Wales in 2005 where people died and hundreds were made seriously ill due to cross contamination with E. coli O157. Click here to see the Pennington Report about Wales.
The E. coli O157: control of cross contamination guidance by the Food Standards agency can be found by clicking here. The link takes you to the full guidance, a summary of the guidance and ‘your questions answered’. The guidance shows that the best way to prevent cross contamination is by completely separating raw and ready to eat food by having separate equipment, food preparation areas, storage and where possible, keeping separate staff in raw and clean areas.
If you are running a catering businesses or a retail business with a catering function, the ‘Safe Catering’ Management guide (produced by the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland) includes the cross contamination guidance and would help you to comply with food legislation. Click here to link to this guide if you are catering.
By December 2014, the Amber Valley Food Safety Management System will be reviewed based on the E. coli guidance and the website will be updated.
What does the law say?
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs (Article 5) states that:
'Food business operators must put into place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure based on the principles of hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP). The HACCP principles referred to above consist of the following:
- Identifying any hazards
- Identifying the critical control points at the step or steps at which control is essential to prevent or eliminate a hazard or to reduce it to acceptable levels
- Establishing critical limits at critical control points that separate acceptability from unacceptability for the prevention, elimination or reduction of identified hazards
- Establishing and implementing effective monitoring procedures at critical control points
- Establishing corrective actions when monitoring indicates that a critical control point is not under control
- Establishing procedures, which shall be carried out regularly, to verify that the measures outlined in the above paragraphs are working effectively
- Establishing documents and records commensurate with the nature and size of the food business to demonstrate the effective application of the measures outlined in the above paragraphs. Amber Valley Council have developed a food safety management system which includes some useful documents and records sheets (see related documents)
When any modification is made in the product, process, or any step, food business operators shall review the procedure and make the necessary changes to it'.
No matter what the nature or size of the food business, owners will have to ensure that they have a sound food safety management system in place.