Any business providing food to the public should be able to achieve a good food hygiene rating if an appropriate amount of time is spent considering the constituent factors.
To achieve a good rating, you need to demonstrate to a visiting Environmental Health Officer (EHO) that you have achieved a good level of compliance with the legal requirements for food safety.
How does the EHO assess this ?
Food Hygiene Ratings are based on the level of compliance in three main areas:
1. How hygienically food in all states is handled. This includes safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
2. The condition and structure of the working premises. This includes cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other factors.
3. How food safety is managed and documented within the working environment
1. Handling food hygienically
This can be demonstrated by showing, for example, that:
a. High standards of personal hygiene are in place for all food handlers. For example clean over clothing (such as aprons), appropriate headwear, minimal jewellery and regular and appropriate hand-washing.
b. Appropriate control measures are in place to prevent cross contamination. For example the use of separate areas and/or equipment for handling raw and cooked foods and the effective use of colour coded chopping boards and also the correct use of appropriate cleaning chemicals.
c. All foods are stored at the correct temperature. For example food stored in fridges is maintained at less than 5°C and that the chill chain is protected, foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled – eg foods are cooked to 75°C or hotter and are checked visually for signs of thorough cooking, and foods are cooled quickly prior to refrigeration.
2. Condition and structure of the premises
The food premises should be of a suitable structure which is clean and in good repair throughout with adequate natural/artificial lighting, adequate natural/artificial ventilation a structure proofed against pest entry.
3. Managing and documenting what you do to make sure food is safe
It is a legal requirement for food businesses to provide documentary evidence that the food they produce is safe. This should:
a. Identify and show an understanding of the food safety hazards (Microbiological, Physical, Chemical and Allergen) within the business
b. Provide evidence that measures have been taken to effectively control these hazards and that these measures are reviewed as appropriate
c. Provide evidence that all food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters in order that they produce food that is safe to eat.
A Level 2 Food Safety And Hygiene for Catering certificate demonstrates that food handlers have received an acceptable level of training in safe food handling techniques.