Archive | February, 2014

Starting a Food Business: What the law says.

27 Feb



  • · It is a legal requirement that food handlers receive adequate supervision, instruction and training to a level that is appropriate to the work they do
  • · It is the responsibility of the food business owner to make sure that their staff are trained
  • · Level 2 Awards in Food Safety (or equivalent) are required for food handlers
  • · Level 3 Awards in Food Safety are recommended for managers and supervisors
  • · It is recommended that food handlers receive refresher training every three years
  • · Food handlers should be trained in the FSMS used in the business.
  • · All training given should be documented.

Personal hygiene:

  • · All food handlers must wear clean protective clothing when handling food
  • · Protective clothing must not be worn outside the premises
  • · Staff must not wear watches or jewellery (except a plain band wedding ring and small sleeper earrings)
  • · Staff must not wear strong perfume or aftershave
  • · Food and drink must not be eaten in food rooms or store rooms. This includes chewing gum or any other sweets.
  • · Smoking is not allowed.
  • · Hands must be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water and dried hygienically e.g. with disposable paper towel.
  • · Before starting work
  • · After breaks
  • · After visiting the toilet
  • · After coughing into the hand or using a tissue
  • · After eating, drinking or smoking
  • · After touching the face or hair
  • · After carrying out any cleaning
  • · After handling rubbish
  • · Staff must not lick fingers when handling wrapping materials
  • · Staff must not blow their nose, cough, sneeze or spit over or on food
  • · Hair and fingernails must be kept clean. Nail varnish must not be worn
  • · Staff must tell their manager if they are suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea, other stomach upsets and be off work for at least 48 hours clear of symptoms, or advised by Environmental Health.
  • · Skin complaints or cuts and abrasions must be covered by an easily detectable waterproof dressing. For example, blue plasters.
  • · Food should be handled as little as possible
  • · Staff must report any problems (for example, signs of pest activity) to management Immediately

Good hygiene practices:


  • · Regular and thorough hand washing and using disposable paper towels to turn off

taps after hand washing to prevent hands becoming contaminated

  • · Effective “two stage” cleaning. For example, removing visible dirt before cleaning with a sanitizer, using suitable cleaning chemicals (complying with BS EN 1276:1997 or BS EN 13697:2001) and always following the manufacturers’ instructions. Food surfaces and contact surfaces (like fridge door handles and cooker controls) must be regularly and effectively disinfected.
  • · Prevention of contamination by storing raw foods below cooked foods and using separate utensils and equipment for raw and cooked food. For example, using separate tongs for handling raw and cooked meats and using separate rolls of cling film for raw and cooked foods.
  • · Storing food at the correct temperature in the fridge (8°C or below) and freezer (-18°C or below) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria
  • · Defrosting frozen food in a refrigerator
  • · Thorough cooking of food to kill harmful bacteria (a core temperature of 75°C held for 30 seconds)
  • · Thorough reheating of food (a core temperature of 75°C held for 30 seconds)
  • · Keeping food hot to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria (above 63°C)
  • · Cooling food quickly prior to refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria within 90 minutes.
  • · Not preparing food too far in advance
  • · Not storing food at room temperature

Construction, design and maintenance of food premises:

  • · Satisfactory design and maintenance of food premises is essential to avoid contamination
  • · Food premises must be maintained in good repair and condition
  • · Ceilings must be smooth, clean, non – flaking, light coloured and easy to clean
  • · Wall finishes must be clean, smooth, impervious, non – flaking, durable, light coloured and capable of being effectively cleaned
  • · Floors must be clean, durable, non – absorbent, non – slip and be capable of being effectively cleaned
  • · Refuse bins must be provided for the disposal of food waste
  • · Equipment must be kept clean and in good condition, enable thorough cleaning and be constructed to minimise contamination
  • · Surfaces must be smooth, impervious, non – toxic, non – flaking, corrosion resistant, durable and suitable for their intended use
  • · A separate wash – hand basin is required for food-handlers. It should be suitably located within the main food preparation area. It must be provided with hot and cold running water, soap (preferably liquid anti – bacterial soap) and hygienic hand drying facilities (ideally disposable paper towels) and only used for hand washing purposes.
  • · An equipment sink with an adequate supply of hot and cold water is required for the washing of utensils. Wash up areas should be located away from food areas.
  • · Depending on the size and nature of the premise an additional food sink with an adequate supply of hot and/or cold water is required for the washing of food. For example, salad preparation. It is recommended that separate sinks are used for washing food and equipment. In the absence of separate sinks foods such as salads should be washed in a disinfected colander.
  • · All sinks must be adequately connected to the mains drainage system.
  • · Adequate storage facilities for chilled and frozen food must be provided
  • · Adequate cooking facilities must be provided
  • · Pests must be denied access and harbourage
  • · There must be an adequate number of flush lavatories available and connected to an effective drainage system. Toilets must be provided with adequate ventilation and must not open directly into a food room
  • · Adequate drainage must be provided
  • · Adequate ventilation must be provided
  • · Food premises must have adequate lighting for the hygienic preparation of food and for adequate cleaning


  • · Food premises must be kept clean
  • · Effective “two stage” cleaning. For example, removing visible dirt before cleaning with a sanitiser, using suitable cleaning chemicals and always following the manufacturers’ instructions in particular with respect to the “contact time” (the length of time a cleaning chemical must be in contact with a surface before being wiped off in order to be able to work properly).
  • · Cleaning cloths must be washed to a temperature of 82°C. This would normally be a “boil” wash.
  • · It is recommended to use disposable paper rolls for cleaning work surfaces. If cloths are used it is recommended that different colour cloths are used for raw and ready to eat food areas.
  • · Dishwashers must reach a wash temperature of 82°C. If you do not have a dishwasher then separate equipment and utensils must be provided for raw and ready to eat foods.
  • · Effective cleaning will reduce the risk of food contamination
  • · The chemical used for cleaning is called a detergent
  • · The chemical used to reduce bacteria to a safe level is called a disinfectant
  • · A sanitiser is a detergent and disinfectant combined
  • · To be effective cleaning must be planned and organised. Cleaning schedules should be written.
  • · “Clean as you go”
  • · Keep work areas clean and tidy and do not allow food waste and dirty equipment to build up
  • · Cleaning chemicals must be stored away from food handling areas

Waste disposal:

  • · Food waste must not be allowed to accumulate in food rooms
  • · Food waste must be stored in closable containers that are kept in sound condition and easy to clean
  • · Provision must be made for the storage and disposal of waste
  • · Refuse stores must be kept clean and free from pests

Pest control:

  • · Pests threaten food safety by contaminating food with food poisoning harmful bacteria
  • · Food business owners must take all reasonable precautions to prevent food pests gaining entry into food rooms
  • · All voids, gaps and holes to external doors, windows and walls must be filled to prevent access
  • · Good housekeeping is essential to prevent harbourage of pests and to allow for early detection
  • · Open windows and doors should be fitted with fly screens to prevent the entry of flying insect pests
  • · The use of electric fly killers will reduce problems with flying insects
  • · Denying pests access to food (for example, by fitting food containers with tightly fitted lids) will discourage an infestation
  • · The hygienic storage and disposal of waste will minimise the risk of a pest infestation
  • · Staff must be made aware of the importance to notify the manager immediately if they see any pests
  • · It is recommended to set up a contract with a reputable pest control company who will make regular visits throughout the year to check the premise and deal with any infestations

· Pest infestations pose a serious risk to public health and must not be ignored


What does the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) look for on an inspection?

27 Feb

When the EHO does an inspection they are looking at 3 areas.

The scores you get in each of these areas will determine your hygiene rating:


1.How clean the premise is and how well the premise and the equipment used is maintained.

Examples of the sort of things they look for would be: 

  • · Cleanliness in the kitchen. Looking at all the equipment. For example, door handles and door seals to fridges, the inside of microwave ovens and cookers. Looking at cleanliness of cooking utensils such as knives, tongs and pots and pans. Looking at cleanliness of sinks, work surfaces, ventilation canopies with grease filters and walls, floors and ceilings. Looking in “hard to reach” places like behind equipment and at wall/floor junctions.
  • · If any items of equipment are worn and damaged. Looking for things like heavily scored chopping boards that should have been replaced, loose taps that should have been repaired or damaged door seals that have not been replaced.
  • · Whether the premise has been kept in good condition. Looking for things like damaged floor coverings, chipped wall tiles, missing ceiling tiles or gaps under doors.

2. How good the food handling practices are.

Examples of the sort of things they look for would be:

  • · Whether food handlers wash their hands and how well they do it.
  • · If raw foods and cooked foods are being stored correctly.
  • · If separate equipment is being used for raw and cooked food.
  • · If food is being stored at the right temperature in the fridge or if food is being cooked properly.
  •   If there is evidence of allergen awareness and control.
  • · If food handlers show any signs of poor hygiene practices. For example, using the same knife for cutting raw meat and cooked chicken or using the same sink for washing food and equipment.
  • · If there are any signs of pests.

3. How confident the EHO is in how well the business is being managed.

Examples of the sort of things they look for would be:

  • · Whether you have a written FSMS and keep daily records.
  • · Whether all your staff have been trained ( Chartered Institute for Environmental Health Foundation certificate in Food Safety ( level 2 ) for food handlers or CIEH Intermediate certificate in Food Safety ( level 3 ) for supervisors and managers.
  • · Whether you keep records of the training your staff have received.
  • · Whether you have all the records that you say you have on site. For example, if you say you have a pest control contract you need to be able to show it to the EHO.
  • · Checking that what you say in your FSMS is actually what happens in real life. It is very important that what you write down in your FSMS is what you and your staff actually do. EHO’s will look at your FSMS and ask you and your staff questions to find out if the FSMS is working properly in practice.
  • · A documented FSMS is very important. If you do not have a FSMS, if your FSMS is not working properly or if it is not available at the time of the inspection you cannot get a good food hygiene rating.

If you have managed to address all of the above, it is likely you ll get a great score.



Here is a little extra help a checklist.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – Food Safety & Hygiene Compliance Checklist
Have you registered your food business? YES/NO
Confidence in Management/Food Safety Management
Do you have a written Food Safety Management System (FSMS)? I can help for these!
(e.g. Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) or own HACCP based )  YES/NO
Have you considered what food safety problems (hazards) could occur within
your business? (e.g. bacteria transferring from raw to cooked foods, food
becoming contaminated with cleaning chemicals or physical contamination
such as glass) YES/NO
Do you have safe methods of working and good hygiene practices (controls)
in place to stop these problems occurring? (e.g. separate areas for preparing
raw and cooked food, storing chemicals away from food)  YES/NO
Are you making regular checks (monitoring) to make sure your controls are
working? (e.g. checking fridge temperatures, making sure cleaning is carried
out effectively)  YES/NO
Do you keep monitoring records? (e.g. the SFBB diary, temperature sheets,
delivery checks)  YES/NO
Do you regularly review your Food Safety Management System? (e.g. do
you complete the 4 weekly review sections in your SFBB pack?)  YES/NO
NB Your previous history of compliance will affect your score.

Food Handling Practices
Do you and your staff follow good personal hygiene practices? (e.g. do you
carry out frequent hand washing?)  YES/NO
Do you and your staff observe the 48hr rule when suffering from sickness
and diarrhoea? (Staff must report their illness and not work with food until 48
hours after their symptoms have gone)  YES/NO
Do you and your staff wear clean protective over clothing?  YES/NO
Do you and your staff clean as you go? Are work surfaces and equipment kept
clean and sanitised / disinfected?   YES/NO
Do your cleaning products comply with British Standard BS EN 1276:1997
& BS EN 13697:2001?   YES/NO
Have you considered what type of cleaning cloth you use? Whenever possible
do you use single-use, disposable cloths?  YES/NO
Do you have controls in place to prevent cross-contamination occurring during
delivery, storage, preparation, cooking and service?  YES/NO
Do you keep foods at the right temperature? (chilled foods below 8ºC and hot
hold foods above 63ºC)   YES/NO
Do you make sure food is thoroughly cooked? (e.g. by visual checks or using
a probe thermometer)  YES/NO
Do you monitor your cooling process?   YES/NO

Food Hygiene – Instruction, Supervision, Training
Do staff understand your Food Safety Management System and follow good
food handling practices?  YES/NO
Have your staff received food hygiene training, and/or adequate instruction
and supervision? Do you keep training records?  YES/NO

Are your premises and equipment maintained in good repair and condition
and kept clean?  YES/NO
Are there facilities for hand washing (incl. hot and cold water, soap and
hygienic means of hand drying e.g. paper towels)?  YES/NO
Are there adequate food preparation surfaces which are clean and in good
repair?  YES/NO
Do you check to see that food rooms are free from pests (rats, mice, insects
etc) and do you look for potential pest entry points e.g. gaps and holes?  YES/NO
Do you use licensed waste disposal contractors for waste oil and refuse?  YES/NO

If this was not enough, Rindwash can prepare for you a HACCP plan and Food Safety Management System


Our basic Haccp based FSMS offer starts at £200

Our last Food Safety Management System was designed for

Brisket and Barrel 123 St Johns Hill, Sevenoaks TN13 3PE

a slow cooked smoked meats venture.

They have achieved 5 stars at their last EHO visit.

Veal Tongue consommé and sauce piquante

4 Feb

This is a 600 grams veal tongue purchased from

Wild Beef West Country Farm Shop

at London Borough market.


In this condition, it is not ready, indeed it must be disgorged in a cold water bath with vinegar and salt for 8 to 12 hours.

Once disgorged you should boil the tongue for 20 to 30 mins, let it cool slightly then peel the skin off. If you find it difficult to peel it off you may use a sharp knife to trim gently the skin off taking care not to cut too much meat !


The skin is off so we ll now boil again the tongue on its own, you must take away the foam that’s gathering

on the surface as shown.


You may now add your vegetables, i am adding 5 large carrots, one onion, 

one medium swede, one leek, you can add potatoe ( i don’t because i want the stock to be clear, the starch in the spuds will taint it, i ll prepare some boiled ones on the side, with a clove and garli and some salt), parsley, thyme, bay leaf,

salt and pepper. The stew must now cook on low fire for 3 hours minimum.

Below is the stew when finished.


I could have boiled a few potatoes to serve with this. When i was a kid, that it what my mum would have done.

I got away with a couple of plates and a large bottle of consommé ( stock ) which i ll use later with vermicelli (noodles).


For the sauce piquante.

3 shallots.

Vinegar 10 cl

1 small onion

a knob of butter

a few pickled gherkins.

Start by cooking the diced shallots in the vinegar, while the vinegar reduces, in an other pan soften the onion in butter.

Soon the vinegar will reduced by half add this to the onion and keep on cooking adding some consommé every now and then to avoid burning. I should have used flour as i would for a bechamel though i am doing a wheat free one today.

The sauce is almost ready


You may now add your pickled gherkins and serve.


Bring on the winter!