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Last updated: 27.03.19

How do the 2013 Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations affect you?

Whether you’re moving into a more senior role in the food industry, or you’re in the process of starting your own business, you’re probably well aware that here in the UK, there are fairly extensive laws pertaining to food safety and hygiene that you need to be aware of. These laws have been introduced to ensure that we can enjoy a very high standard of food in this country, to reduce foodborne illnesses and to help ensure that consumers can make informed choices about the food they buy and eat. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations

Background to the regulations

There are a couple of important things to be aware of about these regulations. The first is that they are, as the name suggests, only applicable to England. Similar laws do cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but each country does handle food law in different ways. The second is that these regulations were placed into law as a result of EU Hygiene Regulations, specifically Regulation 178/2002. Regardless of how the UK’s exit from the EU transpires, it’s expected that laws such as this, which have been informed by EU law, will continue in place.

Regulation 178/2002 has three main points to it, which are also three of the most important concepts of the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations. They are the following:

  • Ensuring that competent local authorities have the power and processes in place to place restrictions on the sale of any kind of food that’s on the market
  • Creating a system whereby the traceability of food is clear and that authorities can be clearly informed of where food comes from on demand
  • Food businesses must be able to collaborate with authorities in order to ensure that risk from food consumption is low

What does this mean?

In short, this means that the Food Hygiene Regulations are all about making sure that local authorities have a strong role in ensuring that food businesses are producing and selling food that’s safe to eat. If you are an owner of a food business or a senior employee for such a business, whether in production, retail or catering, then you need to be aware of these regulations and what they mean. It’s as simple as that.

There are several sections to the The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and it can be complicated to go through all of them as they are outlined in the official documents. However, the concepts are actually very straightforward.

The regulations set out the responsibilities of local authorities when it comes to ensuring that local businesses are handling, preparing and serving food that’s safe to eat. This includes actively working with businesses to improve standards, issuing notices, and issuing punishments. Most of the wording in this particular piece of legislation is about the provision for specific offences, and how the authorities are able to go about enforcing food hygiene standards in their jurisdiction.

Ultimately, the two important things to be aware of if you’re a food business are that you must adhere to hygiene best practices, and you must be able to trace the origins of food that you sell. Bear these two issues in mind, and you’re likely to be on the right side of the law when it comes to these regulations.

Where can you find out more?

Navigating all of the various food safety laws in this country can be difficult, which is why training in the subject is highly recommended. Under EU and UK law, everyone working with food should be appropriately trained for their role, and most good training will include legislation. At Virtual College, we offer the Level 1, 2 and 3 Food Hygiene Certificates, which are some of the best recognised types of training in this subject. Our online food hygiene courses include sections on the most important legislation. Click here to see the e-learning courses available.

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