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Food Establishment Audits

April 20 13:48 2017 Print This Article

How can you prepare for a food hygiene inspection? When the Food Standards Agency/local authority calls on you they do it unannounced but you can be proactive and carry out regular audits which will highlight any issues before an official inspection.

Unless you have 100% confidence in your team, no one who makes a mistake occasionally or a 5/5 Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme score, there is every need for onsite audits. Take nothing for granted.

Food safety management systems based on HACCP – Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points – and food establishment audits work in unison with food hygiene courses to arm you with information and secure understanding of roles, cause and effect, ramifications and the potential outcomes of falling below food hygiene standards. From fewer customers to penalties, legal action and closure.

Each member of your team must be trained in food safety.

They should have a comprehensive working knowledge so that they adhere to legislation and best practices.

HACCP training and roll out are invaluable and show an inspector that you are committed to following EU and UK regulations. Don’t let ignorance be the cause of a poor food hygiene rating.

As a reminder, after a food hygiene inspection a score is awarded:

0 – Urgent improvement needed

1 – Major improvement needed

2 – Improvement needed

3 – Generally satisfactory

4 – Good

5 – Very good

Whilst there is no law that says you must display your result on the premises it is perceived as a positive advertisement when a food establishment shows their score is high.

Consumer confidence is heightened in comparison to when they see no score displayed and ask themselves why.

Preparing for an audit means that you won’t be keener to remain quiet about your hygiene inspection score.

Food hygiene courses are available from specialist training firms including Food Alert in London. You’ll find that online, on premises and in training centre options are available and the courses are either Chartered Institute of Environmental Health or Royal Society for the Preservation of Health accredited and contain up to date information.

Example overviews of food hygiene courses are below. Level 2 equates to GCSE grades A*-C and level 3 is in line with AS/A level so the qualifications are valuable to employee, employer and the firm.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Food Safety in Catering level 2 course:

Food hygiene and the skills required to work safely are discussed.

  • Legislation.
  • Food safety.
  • Food handling.
  • Refrigeration, chilling and cold holding.
  • Cooking, hot holding and reheating.
  • Temperature control.
  • Hygiene hazards.
  • Safe food storage.
  • Food premises and equipment.
  • Cleaning.

The natural progression is the level 3 CIEH course and then the RSPH level 4 food hygiene course for management and owners. HACCP training should also be taken at levels 2 and 3.

Know what to look for and find out prior to an official audit if an issue needs addressing.

The small investment in training employees is worth the optimum score during a food hygiene inspection and the business this can yield.

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