How to Prepare for Your Next Food Hygiene Inspection Inspection

Most food businesses fear that dreaded visit from the Environmental Health Officer (EHO), especially as they turn up unannounced. As a food business operator, you are legally responsible for ensuring the food you’re providing is fit for consumption by the general public.

A negative report can be detrimental to your business, in both revenue terms and reputation. So you must make sure you’re not ill-prepared, have all the correct documentation, training and procedures in place. Measures on the ways you work need to be introduced right from the very start to ensure good food hygiene. 

The 4 key things to remember for good food hygiene are: 

  1. Cleaning 
  2. Cooking 
  3. Chilling 
  4. Cross-contamination 

Your food safety procedures should be based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. Potential hazards within the environment must initially be recognised as the focal point to managing food hygiene. 

There are 3 main types you need to consider: 

  1. microbiological – involving harmful bacteria
  2. chemical – involving chemical contamination
  3. physical – involving objects getting into food

So now we’ve identified the potential food safety issues, let’s discuss what you should demonstrate during an inspection. 

What do businesses need to demonstrate when inspected? 

Environmental Health Officers will check food hygiene, equipment, records and the structure of your premises, including layout, ventilation and repairs during their visit. However these methods will be adapted to how your business is run. 

Storing food safely 

Depending on the type of food, you’ll need to store it in an appropriate place whether it’s in the fridge, freezer or on the shelves in order to ensure it’s safe to eat or cook. Some foods need to be stored in the fridge to help stop bacteria from growing under favourable conditions, and must be kept within the use-by date. They will look for cross contamination issues, so it’s important you store foods in separate fridges, such as cooked/raw meats and fish, and it’s essential food is covered in cling film and labelled for further protection. 

When defrosting frozen foods, it’s advised you place them at the bottom of the fridge away from other foods, sealed with clingfilm to prevent the possibility of juices dripping and contaminating other products in the fridge. Before freezing, remember to check the label for instructions on storage and ensure it’s placed in the freezer before the use-by date. 

For more information on how to store food safely visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/storing-food-safely  

Transporting food safely 

How you handle food is critical for food safety. Therefore it’s essential that you choose suppliers carefully, who you trust can deliver your food safely. Do they pack their goods in a hygienic way? Do they have certification? You need to ensure your raw ingredients such as meats, fish and veg especially, arrive free from contamination and safely and kept at the correct temperatures during transport. 

Staff training 

Are your staff properly trained in food hygiene and handling? By law, as business operators it’s your job to ensure all staff are aware of food hygiene risks and how to handle food. A food hygiene certificate isn’t a necessity, but inspectors will examine how your staff handle food and make a judgement on whether they require further education if they feel they put the consumers at risk. 

Personal hygiene

We all should be experts by now on personal hygiene with the current global pandemic. This concerns regular hand-washing, ensuring staff wear clean clothing, and in general the sanity of an individual. Although they aren’t visible to the naked eye, bacteria are everywhere, on our skin and clothing, on surfaces, anywhere you name it. So, it’s vital you reduce the risk of spreading bacteria to food as much as possible. Checklists should be made for both opening and closing to make sure the premises is fit to serve food the following day, this may involve vigorous cleaning routines, disposing of unclean equipment such as cloths, aprons, cloves etc. and starting fresh the next day.

Record keeping 

It’s recommended that a daily log of fridge temperatures are kept to prove that food is stored safely, and not put at risk of not reaching its shelf life date.  Records must also be kept of any food suppliers that supply you with any ingredients used, as well as all staff employed. 

Making sure all these measures are in place on a daily basis, will without a doubt get you well on your way to achieving that desired 5. Protect your customers and they will protect business. 

To help you prepare for inspections, Grape software offers a quick and easy, purpose built inspection readiness tool called Grape PREPARE, designed to help food businesses achieve a higher food hygiene rating. Follow this link to get your head start, register with your local authority, self assess and win more customers! 

https://grapesoftware.co.uk/solutions/prepare-food-businesses/

Why use Grape PREPARE? 

Preparing for food inspections can be deterring, constantly keeping your staff in check and documentation up to date. At grape software our aim is to save you time and paperwork and make preparation quick and easy, giving you the right information to avoid hefty fines and give you a pre-inspection hygiene rating score so that you know where to improve. On top of that your food safety evidence and previous reports will be available in just one click. 

For more information visit… 

https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/safer-food-better-business-for-caterers

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb96e8e86650c278b077616/working-safely-during-covid-19-restaurants-pubs-takeaway-services-091120.pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *