We caught up with Natalie Stanton (Malupa) the founder of The Safety Expert. Natalie is a Chartered Environmental Health Officer and has over 10 years of experience in food safety and health and safety in both the public and private sectors.
The Safety Expert provides resources that can help your business with food safety requirements. These include blogs, posters and, kitchen record sheets. She also offers a video-based Level 2 Food Hygiene course that provides practical examples; an engaging way for staff working in a food business to learn the basics of food safety.
Below is Natalie’s top nine tips and actions that can get your food business prepared for success! We have also created a resource section at the bottom in case you forget something.
1. Register your food business
As soon as you take over an existing business or set up a new one, by law you must register your business with your local authority. You need to do this at least 28 days before you open.
2. Document your food safety management
Ensure you have documented your food safety management system.
As a small business, you can use the Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) pack, produced by the Food Standards Agency SFBB. Remember, SFBB must reflect what you do in your business. You need to complete all the parts relevant to your business and train your staff to follow it.
For larger businesses (or those carrying out more complex processes) SFBB is not enough. In this case, they will need a bespoke system based on HACCP principles.
3. Food hygiene training
All staff that handle or prepare food need food hygiene training. The level of training depends on their role. Level 2 is suitable for most food handlers.
It’s recommended to renew training at least every 3 years.
Beware that the certificate alone is not enough. Staff must put into practice what they have learnt. A great method is for management to quiz the staff on food safety from time to time.
Make sure your premises are clean and well-maintained.
It is important that you and your staff are familiar with the two-stage cleaning and disinfection process.
When it comes to cleaning chemicals you must ensure:
- They are food safe.
- They meet one of these standards: BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697. Hint: this is often on the label – if you don’t check the EHO will!
- You follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
- That your staff are familiar with these instructions.
Make sure your opening and closing checks include checking hand washing facilities. Including:
- The area is clean.
- There is a hot and cold water supply.
- There is a supply of antibacterial liquid hand soap.
- No leaks.
- There are hygienic drying facilities (such as disposable paper towels).
Don’t forget to remind your staff of the importance of regular hand washing
6. Temperature records
Temperature records are important to show the food you make is safe.
So what does good look like?
- Daily opening and closing checks completed.
- All cooking temperatures recorded.
- When unsafe temperatures occur, corrective actions are taken and recorded.
- Staff trained to check and record accurate temperatures.
- All fridge and freezer temperature checks recorded at regular interval.
7. Cooking, cooling and reheating
You need to cook food until the core temperature reaches at least 75°C for 30 seconds (or equivalent). You can find more info on cooking times and temperatures here.
You check the core temperature of food by inserting a clean temperature probe into the centre or thickest part of the food. The probe must display the required temperature for a specific amount of time.
If you are reheating food, the same rules apply. For food that is not going to be immediately served or hot held, you must cool it as quickly as possible (within 2 hours).
Don’t forget to record all this in your temperature records!
8. Food storage and cross-contamination
Another common area for mistakes is chilled food storage.
When storing foods ensure the following:
- Raw foods and ready-to-eat foods are never stored on the same shelf in the fridge (or freezer).
- Store raw foods below ready-to-eat foods (this prevents any juices from dripping onto food).
- All food is covered.
- All food is date labelled and in date.
- All food is stored at the correct temperature.
9. Pest control
A pest infestation is one of the main reasons a food business gets closed down. So if you discover a pest problem deal with it immediately and do not let it get out of control. We can help you with a premises inspection checklist.
Proofing your premises against pests is essential. If you are unsure how to do this then engage the services of a competent pest control company.
If you discover a pest issue make sure you contact a pest control company immediately.
- Safer Food, Better Business pack
- Food safety quiz
- Fridge/freezer temperature recording sheet
- Cooking temperature record sheet
- Hand washing poster
- Food premises inspection sheet
*We strive to do our best when supporting small business and their growth. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.