Food Safety Management can be a huge headache if you let it. For some business owners even those 3 words can bring them out in an uncomfortable sweat!!
Many smaller food businesses do not have food safety expertise in house and therefore outsource it to consultants. However it is up to you to make sure that safe food is produced or served every day to stay legal. Food safety should underpin everything you do in your food business and be managed effectively.
Here are 7 ways to make managing food safety in your business as painless as possible:
1. Review and update your Food Safety Management System (FSMS)
Whether you have an off the shelf system like SFBB for caterers or MyHACCP for small food manufacturing businesses. Or a bespoke system that has been written for your company. You must review and update your FSMS on a regular basis especially when something changes, for example you take on a new food supplier, change your menu, or change how you make or serve your food. Your FSMS MUST reflect what you are actually doing in your business and if it is out of date it will not be fit for purpose.
2. Train your staff
Make sure your staff have the knowledge and skills to do their jobs properly including allergens, food safety and HACCP. The Level 3 HACCP training for caterers will help managers or supervisors to understand and manage the risks in your business. Also food handlers should be trained in HACCP principles, see my blog ,which will help them to make safe food. If staff know and understand what the risks are they help point out when things go wrong so something can be done about it.
3. Maintain your equipment
We all know maintenance contracts can be expensive. However old and broken equipment like ovens fridges, blast chillers etc. can have a big impact on food safety. If safe temperatures can not be achieved then it might be difficult for staff to make sure food is cooked, chilled or cooled safely putting customers at risk.
Make sure staff can flag up when a piece of equipment is not working properly. Also make supervisors or managers accountable for actioning any maintenance issues. But most importantly as a business owner make sure there is a maintenance contract in place so this does not become a bigger issue.
4. Maintain your premises
This is the basics, walls, floors, ceilings and surfaces, must be in good condition to create a safe place to make and serve food. Broken tiles, flaking paint and crumbling plaster can all cause contamination. Also they can make areas difficult for staff to clean and dirt and grime can build up. Any issues can be highlighted in the manager’s spot check or audits to make sure they don’t become bigger problems that could affect your Food Hygiene Rating.
5. Manage allergens
Make sure you have allergen management controls in place for the safe storage, handling and preparation of allergens. You must be able to provide allergen information for all foods that you produce and serve. For caterers this could be signposting via a menu or a sign and for Products at Direct Point of Sale allergens must be emphasised on the label, see my blog . For food producers allergens must also be emphasised on the packaging.
6. Use Approved suppliers
You need to be confident that all the food and ingredients that you use in your food business is safe. Checking out your food suppliers before they become your suppliers is an important part of food safety management. If possible audit your suppliers and check their food safety standards. An important part of this is how they manage and label allergens. Check that they have a system in place to tell you of ingredient or product changes including the allergens they contain.
Auditing can help you see when things are going wrong before they become bigger problems that could affect food safety. Use my free downloadable form to carry out Management Spot Checks.(top tip: change the date and time you do this check). I recommend doing these spot checks every week to keep your eye on temperature control, storage, equipment and cleaning standards etc. Also quarterly or six-monthly audits are a good idea. These can help you see the bigger picture particularly in relation to new or updated legislation and to make sure that your management system reflects any changes in your business.
If you need help or advice on how to manage food safety in your business. Please Contact me for a no obligation chat.