How do I comply with the law for food safety?
What is the food legal requirement?
What sort of food safety certificate do I need?
Whether you are starting from scratch or already have a food business, if you are selling and making food, then food safety training is an essential component of your food business.
The consequences of inaction are heavy and in many cases are imposed immediately.
Formal action is taken against all food businesses to be found cutting corners around food safety.
The first step is to obtain a UK Level 2 Food Safety Certificate.
On July 1 2009 Environmental health officers visited The Raja Halal Meat shop in Harrow to discover no food safety training. You will find out what happened to them a little later.
Why had no training been done? Many food businesses cite cost or too expensive, and coupled with the havent got time or cant allow my staff time off, particularly if they are quite busy or have a queue of customers, then risking one night of non-compliance over food safety standards seems much more appealing than splashing out profits on training and taking staff away from their duties.
Lets dispel these 2 common myths; a food safety certificate course taken online costs 25+VAT and pales into insignificance when compared to the fines imposed for not having training. Secondly, being too busy is no excuse given the food safety certificate can be obtained online, which means from any PC with an internet connection. A staff member can complete a food safety assessment in 2-3 hours from home and is very practical given that this training needs to be refreshed every 3 years.
The Environmental Health Officer is looking to see that all staff are (as the law says) appropriately trained.
You no longer need to worry about whether your local authority or council accepts certificate, because in doing food safety training you have met the legal obligation.
Once you receive your Level 2 Food Safety certificate, you are free to display it and most importantly use it as proof that you have met the legal requirement for food handlers.
No, not quite. This is not the final step.
Pleading sheer ignorance and saying not knowing the law or being unaware of the food safety legal requirements is another excuse given to Environmental Health Officers. If a food business operates without compliance to food safety standards, they can be shut down on site.
Another look at the findings from the Raja Halal Meat shop environmental health inspection revealed that it was not properly registered with Brent Council.
This is your next step.
All food businesses, whether it be preparing, handling or selling food, must register their premises with the local authority or Council.
Along with no staff food safety training and the products found damaged by rodents at the Raja Halal Meat shop, it was promptly closed down and ordered to pay 1,857 in costs to the council. A larger food business found to be causing risks to public health could be fined much more.
To find out how seriously the courts treat food safety violations have a quick look at the Openshaw Kashmiri Cuisine takeaway in Manchester which on 17 November 2009 was fined 6,100 in fines and costs and closed for 8 days to remove filth and deal with a mice infestation.
The takeaway in Manchester was ultimately demolished with plans in place to construct a Morrisons Supermarket. On 23 November 2009, the Cambella Cafe in the Victoria Shopping centre, Southend, was fined more than 12,000 after mice droppings were found in food that was waiting to be sold.
While members of the public were able to see a lighter side citing cruelty to animals on the premise that the hygiene in these takeaways and cafes was probably poisoning the mice, the fact that many food businesses are not permanently shut down and life-bans given to owners is disconcerting, and as more food businesses are found guilty of cutting corners it will inevitably lead to public pressure on Councils to increase Environmental Health Inspectors, the length of time the food businesses are shut down and the size of fine.