Top tips to maintain your 5 stars

Published: 17 Aug 2016

Having had the opportunity to conduct a joint site inspection with the Local Authority at a family owned restaurant in London, it is apparent that maintaining a 5 star 'Score on the Door' is more difficult than initially achieving it!

Key fundamental areas that the EHO focused on were as follows:

    1. A managed approach to pest control:  The need for an integrated pest management system is of paramount concern in the London area where levels of pest activity is on the increase. It is expected that regular pest control visits by the pest control technician is 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Levels of personal hygiene: During the above mentioned site inspection it was evident that whilst the EHO were assessing the premises and interviewing the head chef, he was also keeping a keen eye on the personal hygiene habits of staff. Most notably if staff were 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 'Score On The Door' 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 high 'Score on the Door' contact us for a chat