The date for Mandatory display of hygiene ratings in England is getting closer. With this now already enforced in Wales and Northern Ireland, never has the drive to obtain and maintain a 5 star hygiene rating been more important.
In recent studies, it has been widely reported that public awareness is on the increase and hygiene ratings do now play a pivotal role in decision making when it comes to spending money and eating out.
We look at ways to achieve and maintain a Food Hygiene rating of five. With the FSA scoring criteria now becoming firmly embedded in the future of food safety, the main elements being assessed during food hygiene inspections are Hygiene standards, Confidence in Management and Structural issues.
Bearing all this in mind, the following pointers will aid your business in achieving a good score when food hygiene inspections are being conducted:
- A managed approach to pest control: The need for an integrated pest management system is of paramount concern, especially in the London area where levels of pest activity are on the increase. 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. Any identified pest entry points must also be adequately pest proofed. The key to a managed approach to pest control is for site management to work jointly with the pest control contractor to eliminate or reduce pest activity to an acceptable level.
- 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. Gaps in documentation of temperature monitoring (and whole days worth of temperature records not being documented) could result in your entire due diligence defence being brought into question, which could result in points being deducted for Confidence in Management.
- Prevention of cross contamination: In recent times Local Authority have placed significant focus on prevention of E.coli in the commercial food establishments. It is essential that cooked and ready to eat foods are not cross contaminated by raw meat handling protocols. Therefore it is imperative that raw meat be prepared and stored in a designated area or in a manner that would reduce the likelihood of cross contamination. Ensure that raw and cooked/ready to eat food items are also portioned on the proper colour coded chopping boards and dedicated knives.
- Levels of personal hygiene: Whilst EHO's are assessing the premises and interviewing the head chef, they will also be keeping a keen eye on the personal hygiene habits of staff. Most notably if staff are washing hands in between tasks, and if the wash hand basins were stocked with hot and cold running water, anti–bacterial hand soap and a means of hand drying.
In addition to the above mentioned tips, good levels of cleanliness, evidence of food safety training and 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.
If you need help or advice on achieving or maintaining a good food hygiene rating contact us for a chat