The FSA have published a new Science Report by its Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Guy Poppy. Professor Poppy looks at the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), and its impact on food safety especially where the scheme is mandatory.
Professor Poppy said: ‘The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been a significant development for food safety and one which has delivered tangible benefits for consumers across the country. The scheme has empowered people, helping them to choose to eat in places with higher ratings. This in turn has pushed restaurants and other food businesses to drive up hygiene standards to attract more customers. I’ve also been encouraged that our research has linked higher ratings to lower levels of microbes found in food businesses, ultimately lowering the risk to consumers from foodborne illness.’
The display of Food Hygiene Rating stickers is mandatory in Northern Ireland and Wales, all food businesses must publicly display their rating regardless of whether it is low or high. Jersey has also recently introduced mandatory display of their equivalent scheme – Eat Well.
The FSA is committed to introducing similar mandatory display of ratings at food outlets in England. There is an increasing call for this, and latest research indicates that 84% of consumers think that businesses should have to display their food hygiene rating at their premises. Reports have suggested this could be in place by 2019.
At CSC we want our all of our clients to be able to obtain and maintain a rating of ‘5’.
Here are our top tips to help you maintain or improve your hygiene rating:
Key fundamental areas that the EHO focuses on when conducting food hygiene inspections are as follows:
- A managed approach to pest control: The need for an integrated pest management system is of paramount concern in areas where pest activity is rife. It is expected that regular pest control visits by the pest control technician are conducted in conjunction with strict housekeeping protocols where all food sources/food debris are cleared to reduce the likelihood of pest attraction.
- Authenticity of due diligence monitoring system: When it comes to assessing the compliance of the due diligence system, it is key that the required checks (including opening checks, fridge freezer and core cooking) are conducted and documented in the specified time periods.
- Prevention of cross contamination: In recent times Local Authority have placed significant focus on prevention of E.coli in commercial food establishments. It is essential that cooked and ready to eat foods are not cross contaminated by raw meat handling protocols.
- Levels of personal hygiene: Protocols like hand washing procedures, wearing of clean chefs uniforms and personal hygiene habits are taken into account.
In addition to the above mentioned tips, good levels of cleanliness, evidence of food safety training and a good structural condition of the premises also play a role in ensuring that a good Food Hygiene Rating is achieved.
Often complacency can result in standards dropping in a relatively short period of time. Ensuring that these key tips are upheld should enable you to retain or improve your rating.
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