Food Safety Advice

Most organisations of a certain size will conduct a variety of food preparation and service activities on a daily basis. This food safety advice offers tips on how to manage the various risks involved.

Legal obligations

There are various laws that relate to the preparation and sale of food. These include Regulation (EC) No. 852 / 2004 (on the hygiene of foodstuffs), the Food Safety Act 1990, and the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations. 
In summary, food supplied, sold, or provided outside of a family or domestic setting must be safe to eat, not ‘injurious to health’ or ‘unfit for human consumption.’ Certain organisations must be registered as food business operators (FBOs). More information 
If you serve or supply food directly to the public, you may also be covered by the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which means that when your business is inspected, you will be given a hygiene rating, based on the standards found at the time. You will be given a sticker / certificate with your rating or result that you must display publicly. Customers can also look these up on the Food Standard Agency’s website. More information 
Some businesses are also required to provide certain allergy information, to help customers avoid certain ingredients. More information 
The extent to which these requirements will apply to you depends on the specific circumstances of your organisation. If you are only preparing and offering or selling food for occasional events we suggest you check this advice on the Food Standards Agency website.

Example hazards to be aware of

  • Dirty or damaged work surfaces and stores in food preparation areas
  • Storage and preparation of raw and cooked foods together
  • Signs of pests in areas where food may be prepared or stored
  • Food that is out of date, of inferior quality or contaminated
  • Inadequate cooking, reheating or thawing
  • Cleaning chemicals stored with foodstuffs
  • Food being prepared too far in advance
  • Foods containing known allergens
  • Storing foods at the wrong temperature
  • People who are ill handling food
  • Contamination from foreign bodies
  • Poor personal hygiene

Example precautions you can take

  • Keep premises clean, well maintained and in good condition
  • Purchase food from reputable suppliers
  • Check food deliveries to ensure food is packaged safely, at the correct temperature, in date and is clean and undamaged
  • Have in place appropriate stock control procedures
  • Check the temperature of chilling equipment daily if not more frequently
  • Store raw and ready-to-eat food properly
  • Make sure food is cooked and prepared properly
  • Keep food covered to protect from bacteria and contamination
  • Adopt good hygiene practises when preparing food
  • Train food handlers in food hygiene
  • Dispose of packaging and waste materials properly
  • Pest-proof your premises
  • Providing suitable washing facilities
  • Ensure you have a dedicated storage area for cleaning chemicals away from foodstuffs

Quick guide to managing the risks involved in food preparation and provision

1. Review and decide what steps you need to take to comply with relevant laws.

2. Implement suitable precautions to ensure any food preparation and provision you undertake is safe.

3. Document your arrangements and responsibilities for 1 and 2!