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Last updated: 20.02.20

What you need to know about Food Safety standards

Food safety and hygiene standards are the backbone of every good food business. Without these standards in place, a food retailer, manufacturer or producer can quickly fall afoul of a bad reputation, unhappy customers, or the authorities.

But what do food businesses have to know and implement when it comes to food safety standards? In our blog post, we take you through three of the most important aspects of food safety for food businesses.

The position of the law

Our first step is to take a look at the various laws that govern food safety across the UK. The most important food safety standards law appeared as the Food Safety Act of 1990. This act set up the legal background of how businesses should implement food safety. Major summary points include the stipulations that food businesses are responsible for the non-inclusion of any ingredients which could be harmful to the health of those eating it, that businesses should label their food correctly and that sold food should be of the nature and quality that consumers expect. The act in its entirety can be found here. Northern Ireland has its own legislation, which can be found here.

General food laws can also be found depending on the type of food and activity involved with producing the food. A comprehensive list is available on the government’s Food Standards Agency webpage here.

The importance of HACCP Protocols

One of the pillars of good food hygiene is the implementation of HACCP in a food business. HACCP stands for hazard analysis and critical control point and it refers to an internationally-recognised programme upon which a business’ food standards system should be built.

HACCP is a risk assessment process at heart, which requires participants to look into their business and at every stage of the food production line, identify and analyse potential hazards and risks which might arise. HACCP also contains information directing how to remove and eliminate the risks at critical control points throughout the production cycle. Ever action taken under HACCP needs to be documented at every point along the cycle and reviews should be carried out to ensure that the system stays up to date.

For more information on the implementation of HACCP in the workspace, take a look at our blog on the subject which provides a handy overview. We also have a great HACCP cleaning schedule which can be implemented to help keep on top of the tasks.

The role of the Food Standards Agency

The UK’s authority when it comes to food standards is the Food Standards Agency (FSA), an independent, government initiative to promote awareness of food health and safety standards among businesspeople and the general public.

The Food Standards Agency is many businesses’ source for understanding how to promote health and safety procedures in their day-to-day routines. They feature a wealth of information on their website about good business practices, frequently asked questions about food safety, known food contaminants and other resources which can be of help to the food business owner.

The department is also in charge of conducting health inspection in food venues and production facilities across the country to ensure that general standards are being met. The inspection results in a food hygiene rating according to the Food Standards Agency’s rating system which awards a score out of five for cleanliness and hygienic practices.

For comprehensive training and a general overview on food hygiene standards for food business, be sure to take a look at our Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety Course.

We also have a great resource on how to achieve a five-star food hygiene safety rating. You can view this, and other useful resources here.