COVID19 : resident and business update

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3. Meeting food safety regulations premises requirements

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides useful information about setting up your food business and meeting the regulations.

In general:

  • You must make sure your food premises, equipment and surfaces are kept clean, in good condition and able to be disinfected where necessary. 
  • You must have adequate hand washing facilities, with a designated wash hand basin, BS EN 1499:1997 compliant soap, hot and cold water and hygienic means of hand drying.
  • There must be adequate lighting and ventilation and where necessary changing facilities should be provided.
  • You must have sufficient and adequate food storage space including fridges, freezers and dry stores.
  • You need to make sure you do not cross contaminate food, so colour coded equipment is strongly recommended.
  • You need to make sure you use the correct cleaning and disinfectant chemicals.  To ensure bacteria are thoroughly removed sanitisers and disinfectants must comply too BS EN 1276:1997 or BS EN 13967:2001. A list of BS EN approved chemicals is available.  

The FSA gives advice on general law and the following legislation gives the general legal requirements that food businesses must follow:

Allergens

You are required to provide information to customers who need to avoid certain ingredients because of a food allergy or intolerance. The FSA has produced advice and guidance which includes allergen information rules, general advice and information on food allergy and intolerance, and specific voluntary best practice guidance on cross-contamination controls for pre-packed foods and loose foods.

Control of E.coli 0157

You are required to have practices and procedures in place to prevent food becoming contaminated with all pathogenic microbiological organisms (bugs that may cause food poisoning) and in particular Escherichia coli 0157 (E.coli 0157).  Advice and guidance as to the steps a food business may take have been produced by the Food Standards Agency.

Imported and Exported Foods

Guidance on rules and regulations for commercially importing and exporting food from or to countries outside of the UK is available from the FSA.

In addition to this there is specific guidance for traders on importing certain foodstuffs, import restrictions and further information on labelling, packaging, chemical safety, additives and organic products.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS)

All businesses are inspected and most are rated for food hygiene and safety standards under the FSA National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The Food Standards Agency has produced details of the scheme, which includes eligibility and business safeguards in respect of appeals against rating and re-score mechanisms.

Your rating will be determined from the standards and circumstances found at the business at the time of the food safety visit.  If you do not have all the required measures in place your rating will be affected.  Of particular importance is your food safety training and completed written food safety management system, if these are not in place you will only be awarded a low FHRS rating.