This blog explains some of the key benefits a Food Safety Consultant will have on your business.
Food safety is a general term for the food industry that refers to things like hygiene, allergies and inspections, and if you/your business handles food in any capacity (whether you cook, serve, store, deliver etc.) then you must be aware of, and compliant with, food safety laws in the UK, as all food business operators must comply with the letter and spirit of the Food Safety Act 1990 (as amended), and the Food Hygiene and Safety Regulations 2013 made under it.
Guardian Support Ltd is an independent Consultancy with many years of experience providing high-quality environmental, health and safety solutions to a range of businesses.
The Food Safety Management System has been developed by Consultants with additional qualifications and experience in food safety and control systems and has been demonstrated to a number of Enforcing Authorities and received positive feedback from all concerned.
Our aim is simple – to provide businesses with a clear, easy-to-understand HACCP-based Food Safety Management System that, if used correctly and in conjunction with strict operating practices, will form the foundations and structure of a sound legal compliance system.
What Does a Food Safety Consultant Do?
One of the key functions of the Food Safety Consultant will be to strategically assess your current practices by completing a Food Safety Compliance Audit Report and Scoring Specification, (the equivalent inspection that is conducted by the Food Standards Agency, Food Hygiene Rating Scheme). Identifying good practices and the potential hazards and risks, producing an action plan for non-compliance issues to further support you in achieving and maintaining excellent food safety standards and practices.
The Consultant will be looking at who your suppliers are, the delivery and receipt of food, storage practices, preparation, production, cooking, service, hygiene practices, cleanliness, maintenance, pest control, HACCP principles, training records and documentation for due diligence. These are just some of the areas that are observed during the initial audit process.
Fundamentally the Food Safety Management System will set out the food businesses minimum acceptable standards with regard to food safety, along with information about how the business implements the System based on the principles of HACCP.
As with all Due Diligence systems, it is imperative that good operational standards are maintained in addition to the completion of any monitoring records.
How Do Consultants Provide a Food Management System
The basis of the FSMS is HACCP, complete with CCPs (Critical Control Points). In the event of there being a particularly high-risk menu at any given business, there are also HACCP sheets in the Manual to ask the appropriate questions to ensure that food safety controls are in place. There is also a sheet for describing any particular high risk food preservation methods likely to be employed at some businesses.
In addition, a Critical Control Point Chart Scheme has been developed to quickly identify any potential risk areas and outline controls necessary to produce safe food. Each CCP Chart is a step in the food preparation process. Detailed instructions on how to manage this step safely are contained in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Record keeping is referred to throughout and is maintained using the Food Safety Compliance Diary.
Food safety consultants provide, at the request of the Client, the investigation of customer complaints involving Food Quality, Safety and Standards.
The purpose of investigation into “sickness” complaints, which is conducted via email or telephone with the customer, business, supplier or another relevant party, is to establish the likelihood of either food poisoning or a food-borne illness being caused by the consumption of food sold at the business.
Information on ingredients, suppliers and date of delivery may be requested from the Client in order that our Consultants can assess any likely ingredients or procedures that could have led to contamination. The object of the exercise is to ensure that at all times, exemplary standards of food safety are practised at the business.
Benefits of Utilising Guardian Support’s Services
These are just some of the benefits of investing in the Food Safety Consultancy Services with Guardian Support for legal compliance and assurance when it comes to protecting your business.
Keep your customers safe
Food Safety Regulations are extensive, but they exist first and foremost to ensure the safety of the public. Just last year food chain Pret-A-Manger faced severe criticism following the death of a 15-year-old who died after eating one of their sandwiches.
‘Pret a Manger investigates second death linked to sandwich. A second customer is believed to have died from an allergic reaction to a product bought from Pret a Manger, the chain has said. The person died in 2017 after eating a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” which was supposed to be dairy-free.
One of the obvious benefits of complying with Food Safety Regulation includes ensuring that nobody falls victim to a food safety deficiency at the hands of your business.
Avoid hefty fines
Another incentive of taking measures to ensure your business is compliant with food safety regulations is the avoidance of the negative ramifications of non-compliance.
Non-compliance with food safety regulations could result in your business receiving hefty fines. The most effective way to deal with this is to prevent non-compliance from occurring in the first place.
With access to expert Food Safety Consultants, you’ll receive advice and structured plans about how you can remain compliant and avoid being caught out.
Score consistently 5 on the FHRS
Acting in compliance with Food Safety legislation is the best way to achieve a high score in the ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ (FHRS). In Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a mandatory requirement to display the scores on your business premises, and though it is not required in England, 49% choose to anyway.
The display of a high hygiene rating can be a sense of pride for businesses and, indeed, 77% of businesses who were asked, in England, said that a mandatory requirement to display their hygiene scores would be a good thing.
Furthermore, 85% of respondents to a survey on attitudes toward food hygiene reported they were aware of the hygiene standards in the places they eat. This highlights the importance that people place on the cleanliness of food organisations.
It would, therefore, seem that high hygiene standards and the ability to score highly in the FHRS is of utmost importance in today’s society.
How Can Our Food Safety Consultancy Services Assist You?
We’ve discussed some of the key reasons as to why you might want to invest in are Food Safety Consultancy Services for your business. But how, specifically, can our consultants help you?
- Food Safety Management System – Our consultants will develop a FSMS that ensures consistent and compliant procedures across your business to help prevent food safety problems before they occur.
- Food Safety Audit – We’ll assess your current food safety procedures and establish whether they comply with current legislation.
- Food Incident Support – Our Food Safety Experts can support you should your business be on the receiving end of any suspected food poisoning, food complaints or EHO visits.
- Food Hygiene and Safety Online Training Courses – We can provide you with food hygiene training or direct you to specialist food safety training courses which your business’ employees can take to attain their level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications in food hygiene, allergens, HACCP, etc.
These are just some of the ways that Guardian Support can help you with your food safety needs. So, if you want to ensure your business remains safe, legally compliant and ultimately profitable, call us today on 0845 2626 260 to speak to our consultants about how they can help your business ensure that it is compliant with Food Safety Regulations, and more.
UK Food Safety Culture FAQs
Here are some of the questions our food safety consultants are asked more frequently about food safety culture, how to achieve legal compliance, keep a food business safe, safety audits, staff training and more:
Who are the Food Standards Agency & what is the Food Standards Act?
The Food Standards Act 1999 provides the Food Standards Agency with functions and powers; it sets out their main goal, which is to protect public health in relation to food.
When a person or organisation is not abiding by the standards set out in the act, the Food Standards Agency can step in at any stage in the food production and supply chain.
The FSA are responsible for giving businesses a food hygiene rating following an inspection, so if your business is not meeting the standards, then you could face a low rating or, even, business closure.
What are the food hygiene requirements for UK businesses?
The four most important areas to consider with food hygiene are: cleaning, cooking, chilling and cross-contamination.
- Cleaning – You need to ensure that food areas and equipment are cleaned effectively as you work, especially if handling raw meats
- Cooking – Undercooked food can cause food poisoning, so you must make sure that all food is cooked thoroughly before being served
- Chilling – Ensure that foods are chilled, when required, to stop harmful bacteria from growing
- Cross-contamination – Avoid spreading bacteria amongst different foods (i.e. raw meats and cooked foods) by keeping them separate
In many cases, if you are considerate of each of these areas and have processes in place to manage and oversee them, then you are fulfilling much of your duty as a business owner within the food industry.
You do also need to consider personal hygiene, such as washing your hands and keeping long hair tied up, as well as the safe storage and transportation of food. A comprehensive compliance process will ensure your business avoids food poisoning allegations.
What is a HACCP Food Plan?
As part of your food hygiene management, you usually must write a food plan based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles.
The HACCP plan keeps your food safe from biological, chemical and physical food safety hazards.
To make a plan you must:
- Identify any hazards that need to be removed or avoided
- Identify the points where you need to prevent or remove this hazard in your work process
- Set limits for the critical control points
- Make sure you monitor the critical control points
- Fix any problems with any critical control points
- Put checks in place to ensure the plan is working
- Keep records
How can I make sure I’m always compliant with food safety laws?
Food safety laws have been consistent in the UK for the last few years (though Brexit may change that soon), but there are always things you can do to improve your food safety management and ensure that all employers are regularly and appropriately trained.
It is important, as with any legislation, to stay informed and keep up to date so that you are aware of any changes being made that may affect you.
If you’re unsure as to whether you are fully compliant with current food safety laws, then the best thing you can do is conduct a full audit of the current systems you have in place. If you do not feel confident doing this yourself, then outsourcing the support of an experienced food safety consultant is the best option.
They will look at the level of training you and your workers have, the PPE that is being used, and the overall food safety management system that you have in place. They will then put together a report of their findings which will highlight any areas that need improvement and suggest ways in which to do so.
Call us today on 0845 2626 260 for more information and a complimentary quote for this service.