It's a dream for many people to run a home food business from their own kitchen. Being self-employed has a lot of perks, including greater flexibility and the chance to be your own boss.
However, it's important to remember that the same food hygiene rules apply to home kitchens as they do to larger food businesses. Whether it's a global restaurant chain or a homemade cupcake business, environmental health officer (EHO) inspections will still be required on a regular basis to ensure the prioritisation of food hygiene and safety in the kitchen, guaranteeing that all food prepared for consumption is safe.
If basic kitchen hygiene rules are being followed at all times, EHO home kitchen hygiene inspections should not be a cause for concern, but more a routine formality.
Virtual College has a range of food hygiene e-learning courses, including one to help you work towards a catering hygiene certificate, but here are a few other tips to help you ace your EHO hygiene inspection.
The Nationwide Caterers' Association (NCASS) provides the following kitchen hygiene checklist for home catering businesses to follow ahead of an environmental health officer inspection. You will be expected to have:
The overall aim of this kitchen hygiene checklist is to ensure that your premises are clean and fit for purpose, that food hygiene rules are being followed, and that your working practices are in line with industry expectations. EHO inspections may also take into account whether your staff have undergone the correct food hygiene and safety training needed for their roles.
EHO inspections often take place without advance notice, so it's vital that home food business owners are following food hygiene best practice at all times – not only to make sure inspections are always passed, but also to ensure food served is of the highest possible standard.
After an EHO inspection, a home food business will be awarded a score from zero to five under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, receiving an accompanying sticker or certificate to display to the public.
Naturally, a perfect five out of five score will be proudly displayed, but the NCASS states that a score of three or below is regarded as undesirable. Food businesses found to be underperforming in this way may be asked to make changes and improvements before they are allowed to reopen, or ahead of another EHO hygiene inspection.
So, to recap, follow this kitchen hygiene checklist to improve your chances of passing your next EHO inspection:
If you want to improve your food hygiene and safety knowledge further, undertaking an e-learning course is a flexible, cost-effective and convenient way to do so.
Check out the full range of food hygiene courses available from Virtual College here.