Food safety

Food safety and hygiene includes inspection of food premises, rating premises within the FSA's food hygiene rating scheme, investigation of food poisoning incidence, investigation of food related complaints, and sampling of food products and private water supplies in commercial premises.

We give advice to new and existing businesses where they are opening or making improvements to enable them to comply with current legislation. We also provide a range of guidance leaflets and documents to businesses on subjects such as staff training and management systems.

Use the drop down menu below to access information for food businesses to assist them in complying with their legal duties.

You must also maintain food hygiene procedures and ensure you have a supply of soap for hand washing and antibacterial cleaner to enable you to clean and sanitise your preparation surfaces.

The supply of cleaning products such as liquid hand-wash and chemical sanitisers has, in some instances, been affected by a high level of demand from businesses and consumers. It is important that, where food businesses remain operational, they ensure that they have a reasonable supply of:

  • Detergents
  • Disinfectant/sanitiser
  • Cleaning materials
  • Hand soap

Hot water is, of course, essential; especially for washing hands. The need for sanitising hand rubs is less important as the emphasis remains with effective and regular hand-washing; using liquid hand soap and running water.

Do not forget to regularly sanitise all hand-contact surfaces and any equipment that customers come into contact with.

All food businesses should have a cleaning schedule in place regardless of the COVID-19 emergency. During the current climate, cleaning of all hand contact points is even more important as is using the correct type of disinfectant. Guidance regarding how to clean effectively can be found via the links below:

Guidance for community cooking and food banks can be viewed at www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-safety-for-community-cooking-and-food-banks.

Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you should leave a 2m distance between you and the person you are delivering to. For example leave deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them.

Knock on the door, step back at least 2 metres and wait nearby for your customer to collect it.

Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment. After each delivery staff must sanitise their hands on return to their vehicle and thoroughly clean them on return to the business premises. Always wash hands after handling cash.

Guidance for safe food delivery can be viewed at www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/food-safety-for-food-delivery.

The following checklist highlights the essential labelling-related requirements for safely and legally redistributing surplus food, and the additional requirements when freezing food to be redistributed. Read in full at wrap.org.uk.

You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under food hygiene regulations and you have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.

Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, and any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator.

The government have issued guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses, this can be viewed at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic many business and their premises were temporarily closed. Therefore there is a risk of legionella developing in water systems that remain dormant. Business owners, landlords and any property managers must be aware of this and put into place procedures to control that risk. We have put together a guide that will help you to stay safe and protect others, read guide.

A free online leaflet produced by the Health and Safety Executive regarding legionella, including a short guide, can be viewed at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg458.htm.

A more detailed guide on how to control legionella and can be downloaded free at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l8.htm.

All foods must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat. To help ensure such activities are carried out safely, we recommend the following procedures are implemented:

  • only use reputable suppliers
  • all food must be protected against contamination
  • high risk ready to eat (RTE) foods must be kept covered using lidded containers, cellophane/aluminium foil tightly wrapped over the plate/bowl of food. Only use food grade disposable containers
  • raw foods, if any, to be completely segregated from RTE foods
  • vehicles used for deliveries must be maintained in good condition and clean
  • if packaged foods are delivered in outer containers (insulated boxes/trays/boxes etc) these must be cleaned and disinfected between deliveries
  • hot foods must be checked to ensure they reach safe temperatures on cooking/reheating (above 750C) and be hot (above 630C) at time of despatch. Such foods must be delivered in insulated containers to maintain temperatures and should
  • reach the customer as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours
  • high risk cold foods must be below 80C (ideally below 50C) at time of despatch and should be delivered as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. The use of insulated containers is advisable
  • any returned containers must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to re-use. Upon collection such returned items should be placed in a dedicated tray/box for transport back to the business premises
  • staff must practice the highest standards of personal hygiene at all times

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for business – 'How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery'.

Ensure your food safety management system for example your safer food better business pack, available at www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/safer-food-better-business is updated to include deliveries and any other changes you have made to your business to ensure the food you serve is safe.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841335 or email foodsafety@ambervalley.gov.uk