The importance of effective Food Safety Management

Published: 18 Aug 2022

Managing Food Safety can often be seen as another hurdle in any food and beverage operation. Policies, HACCP’s, training and effective due diligence monitoring and recording are often areas that are all overlooked. That is, until a major incident occurs, and a food business operator finds him or herself sat in front of a judge.

In Autumn 2018, 92-year-old Elizabeth Neuman and the rest of her congregation headed out for a harvest festival supper. Of the group, 31 became ill with Mrs. Neuman tragically dying.

The cause of death was defined as gastrointestinal illness, which was ultimately caused by the Chef’s unsafe handling of a mince produce. The mince was part-cooked, left in ice water and then re-cooked the following day, the outcome being that the mince was not cooked safely. No records of any of the procedures were evident.

Head Chef Jon Croucher of the Crewe Arms and Pub Landlord Neil Billingham found themselves in court over the incident.

Croucher, who no longer works at the village pub in Northamptonshire, was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, after admitting a charge of contravening food regulations. Pub Landlord Neil Billingham,  had previously admitted three charges of contravening food regulations and was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 court costs. His company, The Bobcat Pub Co, was fined £2,928.98.

How could this be prevented by an effective food safety management system?

A Food Safety Policy allows for laws and regulations to be tailored to a sites operation, and for this to then be interpreted by senior management and staff, allowing for an easily interpretable document based on laws and best practice. A detailed Food Safety Policy is the blueprint for any successful and safe food business.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) allows for processes and procedures to be risk assessed, and then documented outlining the risks and control measures present within the food operation. A good HACCP could have helped prevent illness and death in this case

Staff training is also critical within any food business, all food handling staff are expected to know company hygiene and safety measures to prevent any unsafe practices and outcomes within the operation. In addition to this, all food handling staff are required to be trained to an accredited level 2 food hygiene standard, with senior members of staff required to be trained to a level 3 food hygiene standard. 

Due diligence monitoring and recording is another vital component of any safe operation, cooking temperatures, cooling times and temperatures and fridge temperatures are just a few of the things that require recording and documenting. Doing so not only gives you the chance to protect your business should there be any visit from the local authority, it also facilities a ‘top-down’ safety culture.

Ultimately, the death of Mrs. Neuman and the illnesses to the other members of the group was a result of years of poor practice and non-compliance from those at The Crewe Arms.

Here at CSC, we offer bespoke support in all areas relating to food safety. From on-site consultancy and training through to out of hours support and investigation from our dedicated helpline. Unsure if your food business is legally compliant and safe to operate? Contact us today!