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Last updated: 23.09.19

The importance of food hygiene and safety as a retail supervisor

It should come as little surprise that in a food retail environment, food hygiene is of paramount importance. There are so many reasons for this, from a legal perspective, from a business standpoint and for simple professional pride.

Anyone in the food industry, particularly food retail, should regularly brush up on their food hygiene skills and knowledge to prevent contamination problems. It should be of interest particularly for managers and supervisors, who are then able to advise and support their staff on food best practice.

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at just how important good food hygiene and safety is in the workplace and why food hygiene training is so important for the managers and supervisors in a food retail business.

Why is food hygiene important?

Food safety and hygiene focuses on the maintenance of a clean and uncontaminated workspace when working around food, thus reducing the threat of food poisoning, bacterial contamination, and legal and business repercussions.

The immediate importance of good food hygiene in a retail business is immediately obvious: a clean kitchen sets a good relationship with customers who know straight away that they can eat safely at the business without fear of becoming ill. This confidence attracts recommendations and return visits, in turn bringing more business through the doors.

This also transfers to marketing prospects as well. Strong food safety standards (at least a level 3 food hygiene for supervisors in retail) can lead to the coveted 5* rating for a food retail business under the national hygiene rating system. This rating is commonly displayed in business windows and is a strong signifier for customers.

Finally, and one of the most important factors: it is the law. Companies and persons who do not uphold the food hygiene laws defined by the UK Food Safety Act 1990 can face up an unlimited fine or up to 2 years in prison depending on the severity of the incident.

The Food Safety Act 1990

Under the Food Safety Act 1990, businesses have three main responsibilities, which are:

  1. Ensuring you do not include or remove anything from food or treat food in a way that means it would be damaging to the health of those eating it.
  2. Ensuring that food served or sold is of the nature, substance or quality of which consumers would expect.
  3. Ensuring food is labelled, advertised and presented in a way that isn’t false or misleading to others.

According to the government’s facts guide, the Act covers all operations involved in selling and possessing with a value to sale, free supply in the course of a business, consigning and delivering, preparing, presentation and labelling, storing, transporting, and importing and exporting food.

Find out more about the Food Safety Act in our dedicated article. Click Here to read more.

The role of retail supervisors in food safety

Simply put, food hygiene awareness starts at the top with the managers and supervisors of a food retail business.

Understanding the prevention and control of food safety hazards and hygiene risks is a helpful tool in the skillset of any food retail manager and more importantly, it allows them to monitor the hygiene practices of their employees effectively. All of this, when combined efficiently, reduces the threat of contamination and food poisoning.

According to UK law, all food business operators and managers are responsible for providing supervision and training to food handlers to allow them to work with food in the safest and most hygienic way possible. A strong awareness of the intricacies of food hygiene makes this task easy for all food retail supervisors, granting them the confidence to pass on what they have learnt.

Finding out more

From the marketing and business potential to the legal obligations, the importance of food safety and hygiene is a vital aspect in the day-to-day work of any food retail business. For supervisors, a better understanding granted through training can provide ample opportunity to train and develop staff skills to ensure that food hygiene practices are being correctly observed throughout the business.

For those seeking to learn more or perhaps looking to obtain the requirements for the 5* national hygiene rating score, be sure to take a look at our level 3 food hygiene course for retail supervisors. This training programme grants an insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of a food safety conscious supervisor working in retail, and provides the necessary foundations to effectively manage employees in a hygienic food safety workplace.

Check out our food premises self-inspection checklist to help make sure you are on track and up-to-date to achieve a five-star rating. 

We also have an informative resource on how to achieve a five-star food hygiene safety rating. You can view this here.

Top Food Hygiene FAQs

What is food hygiene and what is food safety?

Food hygiene and food safety refer to the steps food handlers need to take to make sure food is processed, stored, distributed, transported and prepared without any risk to consumers' health.

Who is responsible for food safety?

Food handlers and food businesses are responsible for the safety of the food that they provide to consumers. Their responsibilities include ensuring food is safe for consumption, and that its quality meets expectations. Food also needs to be labelled and advertised in a way that is not misleading, especially where allergies and intolerances are concerned

Why is food hygiene important?

If food is not prepared in a hygienic way, it may be unsafe for consumption and could increase the risk of foodborne illnesses. Good food hygiene is important for your business and its reputation, as well as the health of your customers. It's therefore vital to ensure all staff have received food hygiene training.

Why is food safety important?

A thorough understanding of food safety is essential for food handlers to demonstrate food hygiene best practice, to prevent risk of contamination or foodborne illnesses.

Click here to visit our full FAQ Hub


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