13 of Your Food Safety FAQs Answered

January 24, 2017
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As a food hygiene training provider, we’ve been assisting individuals and food businesses with their food safety responsibilities for a number of years.

We are often asked similar questions time and time again, so we’ve collated them into a series of FAQ guides for you.

So far, we’ve had Food Hygiene Rating Scheme FAQs and 28 of your HACCP FAQs.

In this guide, we’ll cover 13 of your Food Safety FAQs. Let’s get started!

Food safety FAQs from High Speed Training


What are the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006?

The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 (formerly the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006) require anyone in the UK who owns, manages, or works in a food business to understand food hygiene principles and understand how to identify and control food safety risks at every stage of food preparation and distribution. The food hygiene regulations are supported by the Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and exist to ensure that food sold to consumers is fit for consumption.


When did Food Hygiene Legislation Change in the UK?

The Food Safety Act 1990 (as amended) provides the framework upon which all food legislation in Britain is based. Over time, new principles and systems relating to food safety have been introduced – including HACCP – and so the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 were created in order to enforce these principles. In 2013, these regulations were amended and became the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations (England) 2013.


What are Food Hygiene Practices?

In order to maintain and control food hygiene and ensure that food sold to consumers is fit for consumption, good food hygiene practices and sanitation are required. This involves preventing cross-contamination through good personal hygiene, proper food storage and preparation, and thorough cleaning, which can be achieved by food handlers if they receive proper food hygiene training.

Chef washing their hands


What are Food Hygiene Hazards?

The four main types of food hygiene hazards are:

  1. Microbial (bacterial) hazards
  2. Allergenic hazards
  3. Chemical hazards
  4. Physical hazards

If these are allowed to contaminate food, they could cause food poisoning, make the consumer ill, lead to an allergic reaction, or inflict injury.


Why is Food Hygiene and Safety Important?

It is important to learn about food safety and adopt good food hygiene practices because poor food hygiene could lead to the consumer suffering from food poisoning, illness, an allergic reaction, or an injury.


What is a Food Hygiene Policy?

A food hygiene policy is a document created by a food business that outlines their commitment to upholding good food hygiene practices that ensure food is prepared, stored, and sold in a manner that makes it safe for consumption. It details how a business will adhere to these practices, in particular through the use of a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) system, which is required by law.


What is Food Handling?

Food handling refers to any aspect of the operations in the preparation, storage, packaging, transportation, wrapping, and delivery of food. Those who handle raw and cooked food in a food business, i.e. chefs, bakers, fishmongers, etc., are classified as food handlers and must undergo a Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety course.

Waitress serving food


How Long do Food Hygiene Certificates Last?

In the UK, whilst food handlers don’t legally have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food, it is considered best practice for businesses to ensure that their workers have up-to-date food hygiene knowledge, which can be demonstrated by taking a food hygiene training course on a regular basis.  It’s recommended by Environmental Health Officers that refresher training is provided regularly and according to the business’ risk assessment requirements or a change in legislation. Best industry practice is generally every 3 years.

For more information, see this guide: How Often Should I Renew My Food Hygiene and Safety Certificate?


Is a Food Hygiene Certificate a Legal Requirement?

In accordance with the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, it is a requirement that all food handlers are suitably trained in food safety practices. You can acquire a food hygiene certificate by taking an online training course. High Speed Training provide CPD accredited and RoSPA approved online courses: Level 1 Food Hygiene, Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety, and Level 3 Food Hygiene and Safety.


What do Food Hygiene Ratings Mean?

Food hygiene ratings indicate whether or not a business is adhering to satisfactory food hygiene standards in accordance with food hygiene law. You can find food hygiene ratings for food premises online on the Food Standards Agency website if you want to check how low or high a food business has scored. You can find out more in our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme FAQs guide.

Five star food hygiene rating sticker


When did the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme start?

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) introduced the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in 2010 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It was put in place to help consumers decide where to eat out or purchase food from by providing an indication of whether or not the business is adhering to satisfactory food hygiene standards in accordance with food hygiene law. You can find out more in our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme FAQs guide.


Who does Food Hygiene Inspections?

Food hygiene inspections are carried out by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and Trading Standards Officers (TSOs), who may enter food premises unannounced at any reasonable time to carry out inspections.

EHOs and TSOs base their inspection on three things:

  1. How hygienically food is handled
  2. The condition of the premises
  3. How the business manages and documents food safety

To prepare for an inspection, check out this Self Inspection Checklist for Food Premises.


How do I Report Food Hygiene Issues?

If you are an employee, you should report any suspected food hygiene issues in your premises to your supervisor, manager, or employer. They are responsible for ensuring food hygiene issues are dealt with and controlled. If you are a member of the public, you can use the Food Standards Agency’s report system to submit a food problem to the business’ local authority.


Further Resources:

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Food Safety
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