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The Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013 exist to protect people from harm. If a business sells food products, then they need to make sure that they follow these regulations.

What is the Food Hygiene Safety Legislation?

The primary law when dealing with food health and safety is the Food Safety Act 1990, which is a framework for food legislation in Britain. Each country in the UK – England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – has a unique country-specific version of the law in place.

The primary purpose of this law is to ensure that people can buy food fit for human consumption, which will do no harm to them.

Regarding the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013 specifically, they can be complicated to understand and are split up into several official government documents. However, the basic ideas in these documents are quite easy to figure out.

The regulations outline the responsibilities of local authorities when it comes to local businesses, ensuring that when they handle, prepare and serve food, it is safe to eat. This means that local authorities have to work with businesses to help improve the standards of their food by issuing notices, punishments and guidance.

The bulk of the wording in the document is all about how there is provision for specific offences in the business and how the local authority has a certain amount of jurisdiction to go about pursuing businesses that don’t comply with the standards.

Functionally, there are two things you need to be aware of if you’re going to run a food business. First of all, you need to adhere to good practices involving hygiene. Second of all, you have to be able to trace the origin of any food that you sell to the public. If you keep these two things in mind, you’ll be in good stead for the future.

How Does the Regulation Affect Food Businesses?

As a business, you’ll be expected to comply with the regulation as best you can. You will need to demonstrate a willingness to comply, and you may be subject to inspections from the local authority. Every aspect of your food production – from sourcing it to preparing food for sale – needs to be compliant with the regulations. The regulations are a legal requirement, and if you don’t comply with them, you could wind up subject to a penalty.

How Does the Regulation Affect Consumers?

The regulations serve as effective means of protecting consumers from harm. We don’t normally think about the food we purchase from shops or restaurants.

We assume automatically that things are fit for human consumption, and that’s because these regulations have been in place for so long. They helped to guarantee that consumers will be able to enjoy food products that are fit for consumption and that won’t hurt them. The regulations allow consumers to buy without having to make a judgement call, which brings them much-needed peace of mind.

The Importance of Food Hygiene in Schools

Food hygiene is, naturally, one of the biggest health concerns that a local authority has and for a good reason. The health and safety of children in school is a vital priority for the government to make sure that they are charged with safeguarding.

Unsurprisingly, this means that food hygiene is taken very seriously indeed. When you consider that most children will eat lunch, and some will eat a school breakfast, along with the normal cooking classes and other similar events during the day, there is quite a bit to consider when it comes to food hygiene and safety.

Children are particularly at risk of contracting a serious illness from foodborne bacteria for a range of different reasons. Children are substantially less likely to practice good hygiene without prompting. Unfortunately, when you pair this habit with a less-developed immune system, you have an increased risk of disease and illness.

From an education standpoint, it’s also been proven that missing large amounts of school time due to illness has a negative impact on both education and exam results. Understandably, it can be very important for schools to practice good hygiene, as they have a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of all pupils and staff.

Food Hygiene Safety Management Systems

A food safety management system is a tool to use within your business to ensure safe practice. It’s also a legal requirement to have a food safety management system in place.

The food safety management system is a systematic method of controlling food safety hazards within a food business. The objective is to make sure that all food is safe to consume. Each business is required to implement, put in place, and maintain a food safety management system based on the HACCP system. This is the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System.

Someone in your business needs to have suitable knowledge of food health and safety in order to create a proper food management safety system. You need to take this responsibility for yourself in most cases as the employer, but otherwise, a qualified member of staff has to oversee the process.

The kind of system that you need to develop will depend on both the type of business you run and its size. larger manufacturers and businesses need complex, detailed written systems, as well as highly trained professionals to create them. However, small businesses only need a simple system in place.

Suppose you don’t know how to create a system for yourself; a ready-made food safety management system has been created by the Food Standards Agency. It was designed for smaller businesses, and it is free to download. It’s a pack of tools that you can use to develop safe methods for working, and they focus on the areas most commonly associated with food poisoning. You’ll learn about cleaning, chilling, cooking, and cross-contamination.

It’s a good substitute if you don’t have the training at this precise moment. However, businesses are encouraged to develop their own management systems over time.

Food Hygiene Safety Best Practices

There are a large number of different practices that can be implemented for food hygiene safety.

Regarding personal hygiene, make sure that you practice correct hand washing to prevent contamination. Always use a specialist basin for hand washing, and never use it to wash equipment or food. Your hands should be dried properly in a hygienic way. This means using a clean roller towel, paper towel or a dryer. Do not use tea towels, overalls, or cloth.

Do not wear any jewellery as they can be places where bacteria gather and contaminate food. Do not use heavy makeup or strong-smelling perfume, as this will taint food products. If you are sick or have a cold, you should not be handling food.

Regarding raw and high-risk foods, they should be kept separately. All food should be kept out of the temperature danger zone, which is considered to be either below 5°C or above 63°C. If high-risk food is eaten immediately, the cooking methods need to be safe and can be done so assuming that the cooking temperature has been high enough. If food is not to be immediately consumed and needs to be kept hot, then it must be kept in an environment of 63°C or higher.

Regarding freezing food, your freezer should be operating at a maximum temperature of -18°C. The temperature of the fridge should regularly be checked and recorded. The temperature should never go below 1°C or above 4°C. The fridge door should not be kept open for extended periods. If there is not a separate fridge for raw food, raw food should be kept on the lower shelf with other food above it. Finally, do not put hot food directly into the fridge.

Food Hygiene Safety Offences

There are several actions which may constitute a food hygiene safety offence. Selling food that is not fit for human consumption is an offence under the food safety act 1990, as well as misadvertising food to contain ingredients it does not or purposefully withholding ingredients from a printed label.

The primary defence for a food hygiene safety offence is due diligence. Businesses will be expected to keep adequate records of evidence that they have complied with the food safety legislation laid down in official government documents and will be charged and punished if they cannot prove compliance.

Enforcement of Food Hygiene Safety

Your local authority, acting as a member of the government, has the responsibility of enforcing food hygiene safety in your local area. They will do so via frequent inspections and through the use of authorised agents. Any representative of your local authority should be considered a member of the government, and their final verdict should be considered to be a legally binding assessment.

You will be tasked with completing any changes or improvements assigned to you by your local authority, and the punishment for refusing to do so could either be a fine or the forced closure of your business.

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