1. Introduction

Food poisoning can cause serious illnesses, with some types leading to permanent disability or in some cases death. It is vital, therefore, that a service where any member of staff is required to handle, prepare, store or serve food ensures the highest standards of food safety, food quality and food hygiene and complies with the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006.

The definition of food preparation is the preparation, cooking, re-heating or chilling of any food stuff. Food handling means to handle, present or serve food stuff including cold food, hot food sandwiches, drinks and cakes for example.

2. Training

All relevant new staff to the service must receive mandatory training on the requirements of food hygiene and food safety as part of their induction programme. Completion of this module must be documented in their training record, in their personnel file.

Any member of staff who has a catering role such as cooks or chefs or those who work in a solely food related role must obtain and maintain a basic food hygiene certificate. This course must be provided by a registered food hygiene trainer / training company. On successful completion of the course, the employee will receive a food hygiene certificate.

Time away from work will be given for the designated staff to undertake the training and obtain the certificate.

Managers should ensure that staff also complete the update / re-qualification, as required by legislation.

3. Management Arrangements to Maintain Food Hygiene Standards

The service manager and all relevant staff working in settings where food handling and / or food preparation is carried out should be familiar with food hygiene standards and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) literature on food hygiene see (scope box above).

The service manager is responsible for ensuring that standards are maintained within the premises, and adhere to the FSA guidance.

3.1 Food preparation areas

The service manager is responsible for ensuring:

  • the frequency of cleaning of related equipment and that all relevant items are included in the cleaning schedule for the service;
  • floors, surfaces, cupboards, walls, cleaning are clean and fit for purpose;
  • equipment is clean and in good order;
  • bins and rubbish are cleared safely away;
  • risks from external contamination (such as insects, poor air or smoke) are kept to the lowest possible level.

3.2 Food safety

The service manager is responsible for ensuring:

  • food is stored / cooked at the correct temperature in fridges, freezers, ovens and warming units and in accordance to FSA guidance;
  • food preparation is fully compliant with guidance to avoid cross contamination;
  • food handlers adhere to basic personal hygiene rules at all times and that personal hygiene, including hand washing, is always taken seriously.

Non-compliance by a member of staff with any of the above may result in disciplinary action being taken.

4. Food Hygiene Inspections

The service manager should maintain a food safety checklist relevant to the service setting.

As part of their regular service checks, the service manager should complete a food safety inspection checklist and record their findings.

The service manager should also carry out occasional spot checks, to ensure standards are being maintained at all times. These should also be recorded.

Any action arising from an inspection should be acted upon by the service manager and measures taken to ensure that the risks that have been identified are reduced to the lowest possible level.

Any member of staff who identifies an actual or potential food hygiene issue / incident must report this using the incident reporting system in the service. All incidents will be investigated by the service manager.