Food Safety Management Systems
Every food business owner in the UK is required by law to setup and maintain a food management system in written form, which has to be approved by a recognised awarding body in order to be considered valid. The intention behind these systems is to identify and anticipate the risks associated with running a food business, and then to set up written and actionable steps in order to prevent these risks from occurring, thus ensuring the safety of your customers and your workplace.
One of the most widely used food safety management systems is the HACCP method, which helps food businesses to analyse and properly manage their food safety related risks using a system that’s easy to understand and follow. For smaller businesses, the Safer Food, Better Business system is recommended because it complies with national food safety and hygiene standards.
A lack of proper food safety and hygiene management through a systematised approach could potentially lead to massive outbreaks that may end up affecting entire regions. Therefore, it is important for food establishments to comply with proper food safety regulations to not only avoid outbreaks, but to also stay in alignment with local and national laws, while building trust and loyalty with customers. After all, customers are less likely to visit an establishment that’s known for violating hygiene standards, as that threatens their health and well-being.
While it is not legally compulsory for you to update your food safety certification, it is generally recommended to do so whenever new legislation is implemented to improve general food hygiene standards on a local or national level, and also when new technology comes along that directly affects your operating processes. There is also a fair bit of monitoring that you should expect from your local authority. This is aimed at giving customers and the general public a peace of mind in knowing that they’re supporting a clean and hygienic establishment that treats their health as a priority.
Typically, different departments of your business will be required to hold specific certification that is in line with their particular role within the business. For example, hands-on employees who are involved with the direct handling of food are expected to have a Level 2 food safety certification because they require training on how to manage the hygiene risks associated with cross-contamination and sanitation.
Management level employees, on the other hand, are required to have a Level 3 food safety certificate, as that prepares them to deal with supervising the implementation of the overall food safety management system across the value chain of the food production process, while having an intimate understanding of each critical control point. A Level 1 certificate is acceptable only for those employees whose work does not involve direct food handling.
Having a food management system in place will enable you to keep proper records of your operations on a consistent basis, including each critical point that contributes to making the process run smoothly. It also helps you manage things like recalls, should anything go wrong.