We explore the potential hazards in commercial kitchens and how businesses can fight back.kostenloses demokonto binäre option
The threats of microbiological, biological and chemical agents of disease lurk around the corner in every commercial kitchen. Effective mitigation of this threat is not only vital to protect business continuity, but is imperative to safeguard public health.
Two-thirds of all life on earth is invisible. Whilst most of the micro world is harmless to humans, understanding the variety of dangers in the kitchen will certainly help businesses provide a safe platform for their customers.
To help us, we’ve invited some top experts and industry voices. Joining us this month:
Bradley Smythe, Food Standards Agency – the UK Government body responsible for protecting public health in relation to food.
Dee Ward-Thompson, Technical Manager at the British Pest Control Association – the BPCA represents professional pest controllers of public health and nuisance pests, providing training, research and industry insight.
Deborah Bland, Hospitality Marketing Lead at Diversey Care UK & Ireland - a global leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection.
Rag Hulait, UK Director of Sales at Monika – a leading supplier of safety monitoring technological solutions for the foodservice industry.
Peter Alsworth, Chemical Sales Director at Winterhalter – specialist provider of warewash machines and solutions to the catering and foodservice industry.
Poor food hygiene can have far reaching consequences, Bradley Smythe from the Food Standards Agency explains: “Businesses selling and supplying food with poor food hygiene practices could be putting their customers at risk of food poisoning and could be liable to enforcement action including formal requests to make improvements. Where there is an imminent risk of injury to health, inspectors can immediately close the premises and the business could face prosecution for breaches of legislation.”
But the financial risks shouldn’t be ignored either as Rag Hulait from safety monitoring technology company, Monika explains: “The outbreak of a food borne illness caused by poor hygiene in a catering operation can be significantly more damaging than to the business reputation alone. With costs often running into tens of thousands of pounds, legal proceedings being a lengthy process and the food standards authorities subsequently maintaining a close eye on an operation, the impact on a catering provision and the operators themselves can be enormous.”
“The biggest risk is the introduction and spread of infections that can cause illness to customers and staff. If these occur, they not only cause suffering but can lead to disruption to the ongoing business” says Deborah Bland, Hospitality Marketing Lead at Diversey Care UK & Ireland, a global leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection. But infection is not the only risk as Deborah explains: “They can also adversely affect the reputation of the business and in the most extreme cases lead to regulatory sanctions and, ultimately, forced closure.”
Bradley Smythe agrees and adds: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme makes it easier for consumers to choose places with good hygiene standards when they’re eating out or shopping for food. The food hygiene rating tells them about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other places they go to for food. If poor hygiene practices are observed during an inspection by an Officer it will be reflected in a low score which can be visible to customers. A poor score could have implications on a business’s reputation.”
It’s not just bacteria or the health inspectors that will come knocking if poor food hygiene practises are followed. Dee Ward-Thompson, Technical Manager at the British Pest Control Association, tells us of another potential visitor: “The risks posed by pests in any food handling premises are diverse – the spread of disease, damage to property (including foodstuffs), adverse public opinion, damage to reputations, the risk (and expense of) prosecution and, taken to its extreme, even closure of the premises, and perhaps with it the business.”
Dee continues: “There are a few pest species that are particularly hazardous because of their habits and dispersal, mainly rats, mice and cockroaches, which can spread throughout the entirety of a kitchen looking for food and harbourage. This ‘behaviour’ brings the pests into contact with a variety of areas, including worktops, food storage areas and production areas.
“It is likely that these pests have previously been living in unhygienic areas such as sewers, drains and waste areas so will potentially transfer harmful bacteria to surfaces around your kitchen.
“House flies are another major problem to food businesses. While often not recognised for having a serious impact on public health, flies can spread diseases because they feed freely on human food and any types of waste and faeces. Flies pick up disease-causing organisms, making them a pest you do not want in any kitchen.”
“In these days of social media no establishment can risk bad publicity. Even staff uniforms can tell a story” says Peter Alsworth, Chemical Sales Director at Winterhalter – specialist provider of warewash machines and solutions to the catering and foodservice industry.
The legal side
By Bradley Smythe, Food Standards Agency
(Full separate page or two pages side by side if too big)
The most important food hygiene regulations for Food Businesses are:
• Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
• Regulation (EC) 178/2002 which lays down the general principles and requirements of food law
• The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 (as amended) (and equivalent regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)*
These set out the basic hygiene requirements for all aspects of food businesses, from their premises and facilities to the personal hygiene of their staff.
There are special requirements for rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed. The design and layout of the room must allow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination between and during tasks. These apply to floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, surfaces, and washing equipment.
Businesses must ensure that food is handled hygienically so that it is protected from harmful deterioration and contamination from the moment it is received, right through storage, preparation, cooking and serving.
One of the key requirements of the law is that businesses must be able to show what they do to make or sell food that is safe to eat and have this written down. This is known as a food safety management system and is based on the principles of HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point).
• Keep up-to-date documents and records relating to their procedures
• Review their procedures if you change what you produce or how they work.
There are packs available from the FSA that can help businesses put in place a food safety management system, these include;
• Safer food, better business – England and Wales
• CookSafe and RetailSafe – Scotland
• Safe catering pack – Northern Ireland
Information on the legal requirements for food safety and hygiene can be found online at food.gov.uk and businesses may also wish to contact the Environmental Health service at their local authority for advice.
For more information:
Food businesses must make sure that any staff who handle food are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene in a way that is appropriate for their work activity and should enable them to handle food safely. There is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course or get a qualification, although many businesses may want their staff to do so. The necessary skills could be obtained in other ways, including on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience.
For more information:
By Dee Ward-Thompson, Technical Manager at the British Pest Control Association
(Full separate page or two if too big)
The regulatory framework (principally, the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2005 made under it) deems food unsafe if it is considered to be injurious to health or unfit for human consumption. It lays down general hygiene requirements for all food business operators.
The layout, design and construction of food premises should permit good food hygiene practices including protection against contamination and, in particular, adequate pest control.
The procedures should be based upon the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principle generally. This identifies processes, which are most hazardous, so measures can be taken to reduce risk.
Pest management is part of the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for food businesses, which is a prerequisite for the HACCP-based procedures in place.
Effective pest management programmes should not only prevent the introduction of pests anywhere on a food site but also reduce the conditions that may encourage pest presence or facilitate their survival should they establish a presence.
Hygiene ratings can be seriously affected if regulations are not met or if a problem is ignored.
Poor ratings can have major repercussions to the reputation of any food business – damage can be devastating often irreparable.
Pests are in general attracted by food and warmth and that’s why every premises involved in the provision of food should have a robust hygiene system in place.
That covers cleaning, storage and preparation and should also involve pest proofing work combined with regular inspections.
Owners of food outlets who regard it as a peripheral matter or an unnecessary expense are taking a massive risk.
Customers who spot any sign of an infestation, or who are perhaps affected by bacteria caused by contaminated food, will run a mile and won’t be back.
They’re also likely to tell the world and his wife, post damaging online reviews and probably inform the authorities.
It’s therefore far better, and potentially much cheaper, for businesses to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to pest control.
If you know where to look and how to monitor, most pests are easy to detect.
Evidence such as droppings, insect skin casts and damage rodents may cause are all signs of pest activity.
The best approach is prevention and this is where the expertise of a professional pest controller is best.
Advice on proofing and hygiene to prevent the ingress of rodents or insects should be sought and followed, such as sealing of gaps large enough to allow rodents access and the fitting of fly screens.
Insects can be more difficult to detect if pest control contractors do not have monitors located in the correct locations. Many are cryptic and nocturnal pests, which makes monitoring a key part to any pest control programme.
Any pest can be difficult to control where the contractor and site have poor communication and/or do not carry out recommended proofing and hygiene activities.
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand and so contractor recommendations must be completed to assist in the control and prevention of repeated infestations.
In general, a food business should have integrated pest management systems in place which include having the building proofed to a very high standard to prevent pests gaining access in the first place.
The proper disposal of food waste is also important as pests will quickly collect where waste food is left hanging around.
It’s important to ensure pest management is carried out by a professional company.
Properly qualified technicians will ensure food premises are as protected as they can be and are likely to combine expert advice with a review of a company’s procedures.
Pest management should not be a simple box-ticking exercise and every business handling food needs to ensure controllers have the right credentials.
Every member of the British Pest Control Association is required to hold key qualifications – an initiative that delivers vital peace of mind.
They’ll be CEPA Certified, which means they operate to high standards recognised throughout Europe, also hold appropriate insurance allowing them to work safely at any premises and will have been assessed on a regular basis to ensure they provide a thoroughly professional and consistent service.