A comprehensive approach to food hygiene training is a must, say firms
THERE’S no denying the importance of implementing and maintaining a comprehensive food hygiene policy. With restaurants which fail to do so at risk of inflicting not only irreparable damage to their reputation, but also facing possible prosecution, unlimited fines, as well as potential closure via a Hygiene (Emergency) Prohibition Notice (HEPN), there is simply no room for a lax approach to food hygiene.
That was the message from the experts, who told SLTN that it is “critical” that licensees continually meet and surpass basic food hygiene standards.
Karen Moody Wood, property support manager at Star Pubs & Bars, said it is an “extremely important” issue “as poor hygiene standards inevitably lead to a high risk of food poisoning, which could be potentially fatal to those who have a weak or compromised immune system, or underlying health conditions”.
“The best food hygiene standards not only minimise risk to customers and staff, but also provide kitchen teams with the confidence to deliver high quality food in a consistently disciplined environment,” said Wood.
Echoing this view, Glenn Roberts, chair of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), added that a comprehensive approach to food hygiene will also help operators avoid the bad press and financial loss that undoubtedly goes hand in hand with dirty premises.
“Few things put people off more than dirt and clutter,” said Roberts.
“Everything – surfaces, crockery, floor, staff fingernails, and so on – it all needs to be spotless.
“Get it wrong and people will walk away. Not only will they not come back, they’ll also warn their friends.”
John McAulay, lecturer at the City of Glasgow College, agreed, stating that failure to adhere to basic hygiene standards is twofold.
“Firstly and most importantly they face legal action if their practices have resulted in providing contaminated food to their customers, and secondly the devastating impact to their business if this is proven to be the case,” he said.
In order to avoid such a setback, Roberts of CESA reckons cleaning and hygiene training “is a key issue and should be ongoing”.
Wood of Star Pubs & Bars agreed that staff training “is essential to maintain good food standards”.
“All staff must receive supervision, instruction and training and it is important for training records to be retained on-site as evidence of adequate training provision,” she said.
While Wood admitted that food safety courses “are extremely valuable”, she warned that some can be “generic in content and it is essential that, in addition to these, all food handlers should read and understand their business-specific Food Safety Management System (FSMS) / Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) processes, procedures and policy documents”.
The HACCP, which is a recognised food safety management system that uses process controls to minimise food safety risks, can be utilised by operators to maintain high food safety standards, according to Wood.
“Cleanliness of all areas, equipment and people that come into contact with food during production, delivery and preparation is critical and these processes and procedures should be clearly laid out in the business’s Food Safety Management System (FSMS),” said Wood.
Utilising relevant equipment to make food hygiene control in the kitchen “as easy as possible helps everyone achieve due diligence”, said a spokeswoman for ETI.
Ultimately, licensees should strive to “create a positive culture where your team takes pride in receiving top food hygiene ratings and producing the best quality, safest food with the highest sales in the area”, said Wood of Star Pubs & Bars.
Food hygiene training: what should it cover?
1. Food hygiene law and the consequences of failure to comply
2. Food safety management systems
3. HACCP – delivery, storage, preparation cooking, cooling and reheating food
4. Types of food contamination
5. Food poisoning and food borne diseases
6. Prevention of food poisoning
7. High-risk foods
8. Cleaning and disinfecting kitchens and equipment
9. Allergies and food intolerances
10. Personal hygiene
11. Pest control
12. The business impact of good and poor hygiene practices
– Supplied by Star Pubs & Bars.