Latest news on HACCP Food Safety & Hygiene

Critical Control Points in Food Preparation

It is absolutely vital that food producers serve their customers with food that is clean and hygienic at all times, and this rule is the cornerstone of the food industry. A good yardstick to follow in order to achieve this principle is to avoid cross-contamination at all costs while conducting regular inspection for metal contamination before your product leaves the kitchen or warehouse.

Below is how the HACCP’s Critical Control Points relate to this rule:

What Are the Critical Control Points?

The concept of CCPs refers to the ongoing inspection of food as it goes through the production process so that the food is fit for consumption and there are no surprises when the product reaches its final stages. According to the HACCP principles, an inspection needs to be done at each point of the process to check for any health risks and to keep a record of the process for future reference. Therefore, the CCP’s are a type of hazard analysis and record keeping technique.

Hazard Analysis

During this stage of the analysis, the person responsible for the inspection will check the food for any biological, chemical or physical contaminants that might affect the quality of the final product or health safety of the customer. Therefore, the inspectors will analyse the food to check for any splinters or broken glass and metal pieces that might be in the food. They will also perform a risk assessment to check for any potential biological and chemical contaminants and the resulting effects that those contaminants might have on the customer.

Consequently, the examiner at this stage must ask themselves key questions like:

  • What possible contamination could occur?
  • What is the likelihood of these contaminations occurring?
  • What consequences will these contaminants have?

Critical Control Points Identification

A diagram known as the ‘decision tree’ has been developed in order to recognise the Critical Control Points.

Critical Control Points

This diagram can be used in conjunction with tools like X-ray scanners or metal detectors to spontaneously separate metal contaminants from food.

Critical Limits

When you’ve identified your control points and are comfortable with them, then comes the time to set critical limits for these points so as to give you an idea of what to look out for when things are not going right. This could refer to the scanning sensitivity used on the X-ray devices that you use, as well as the relevant indicator to look out for when contaminants have been detected.

Establishing a Monitoring System

A monitoring system refers to the method used in ensuring that the critical limits are observed at each and every control point along the process. For example, the test implements used to examine the functioning ability of your X-ray or metal detector should be used on a regular basis to ensure that it is operating properly to get you the desired results.

Taking Corrective Measures

Try as we may, human error will always be there to challenge the integrity of the HACCP process from time to time, which is why you must also take corrective measures in order to deal with these instances, no matter how rare they are.

Food and Hygiene for Businesses

If you’re in the food, catering or hospitality industry, then you probably know how important it is to maintain good food hygiene standards in order to keep your customers safe and your business afloat. After all, there is nothing more damaging to a food brand or a restaurant than a bad review, and it only takes one complaint to do irreparable damage to your reputation.

 To avoid all this, check out our tips below on how to maintain good food hygiene:

The 4 Cs of Good Food Hygiene

So, the 4 Cs of food hygiene stand for Cleaning, Cooking, Cross-Contamination, and Chilling.

Here’s how you break them down:

  • Cleaning – This involves religiously cleaning the hands and work surfaces prior to preparing every dish, in order to avoid the spread of harmful germs and bacteria onto food.
  • Cooking – When cooking food, make sure that it is thoroughly heated to help kill unwanted bacteria. This goes for reheating already prepared food as well. Dishes like pork, poultry, rolled meats, burgers and so on, must be cooked until piping hot to ensure that all the bacteria inside is eliminated. While it’s fine to serve red meat cuts like steaks or cutlets rare or semi-raw, the same principle doesn’t apply to white meat.
  • Cross-Contamination – This refers to the spread of harmful bacteria between food, cooking equipment and surfaces, and it often results in food poisoning. To avoid cross-contamination, make sure to wash hands with soap after each time you touch raw food, especially meat. Also use disinfectant to thoroughly clean the surfaces, equipment and chopping boards that you use in between dishes.

You should wash your hands before preparing food, keep raw food in the fridge, don’t use the same implements to cook raw and prepared food, and keep these two foods separate at all times in your kitchen.

  • Chilling – Make sure that your fridge is cold enough to keep your salads and other cold foods chilled at all times. This will help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria into your food. Keep in mind to place already prepared desserts, salads and cooked foods in the fridge so that they stay fresh.

Hygiene Rules

Teach your staff about the importance of reporting certain illnesses and stay up to date on the latest protocols on how to deal with particular symptoms. You also should be knowledgeable on the appropriate water supply required in a food preparation area, how to manage and mitigate food wastage during and after the cooking process, as well as ensuring that everyone adheres to the rules regarding the storage of food, shelf life and how to protect your customers against E-Coli cross-contamination.

Advice for Different Business Types

You should always be prepared to broaden your knowledge about your particular area of catering expertise, whether you are a butcher, a pastry chef, restaurant chef or soup kitchen cook. There are different rules and protocols to be followed that are unique to each scenario and you have to adhere to them in order to maintain a hygienic workplace while providing safe food to your clients.

Food Safety Best Practices

In today’s article, we will give you relevant knowledge on how to avoid foodborne illnesses by observing the best practices when it comes to shopping, cooking, preparing, storage and other aspects of your food business process.

The Food Safe Families campaign has come up with four easy-to-follow steps that you can use to ensure food safety at each step of the food preparation process in your establishment.

  • Clean – Be sure to wash your hands and the surfaces you work on thoroughly in between tasks.
  • Separate – Avoid cross-contamination by storing uncooked food separately from cooked food.
  • Cook – Set the right temperature when cooking.
  • Chill – Place food in the refrigerator on time.

Food Safety Best Practices For Businesses In The United Kingdom


  • When shopping, start with un-perishables and then follow with frozen items.
  • Check poultry or meat packaging for any leaks prior to purchasing.
  • Don’t purchase expired food and always check your labeling.


  • Place perishable foods in the refrigerator within 1 or 2 hours of purchase.
  • Use an appliance thermometer to routinely check your freezer’s temperature and make sure that it is at 0 °F, while your refrigerator should be at a temperature of 40 °F.
  • Fish, fresh poultry and ground meats should be frozen within two days of being cooked, while lamb, pork, veal and beef must be frozen within 3 to 5 days.
  • Avoid meat juices from flowing out and reducing the quality of your meat and poultry by wrapping it carefully before you refrigerate it.
  • Do not expose canned foods to freezing temperatures, and get rid of cans that look swollen, rusted or otherwise dented. While you can keep low-acid foods like vegetables and meat for 3 to 5 years in a can, high-acid foods like tomatoes and fruit can only last for 12 to 18 months.


  • Use soap and warm water to wash your hands at least 20 seconds before you start handling any type of food.
  • Poultry, raw meat and fish should be kept separately from other foods in order to avoid cross-contamination. Also, use hot water and soap to wash surfaces, hands and utensils after using them for raw meat preparation.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach into a gallon of water to make super sanitizer for your utensils, cutting boards and surfaces.
  • When marinating meat or poultry, keep it in a covered dish and place it in the refrigerator.


  • Safely monitor the thawing process to ensure that the juices from thawing poultry and meat don’t drip onto, and contaminate other food in the fridge.
  • A quick and efficient way to thaw food is to place it in a leak-proof plastic bag, and then submerging that into a larger bowl of cold tap water. After changing the water every 30 minutes, you can then cook your food once it’s thawed.
  • If using a microwave, be sure to cook the thawed food immediately after you’ve taken it out.


  • Use a food thermometer to measure your cooking temperature, and make sure that foods like chops, lamb, veal, pork, poultry and beef maintain an internal temperature of 145°F or higher.
  • All ground meats, on the other hand, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F.
  • Lastly, poultry should be cooked at an internal temperature of 165 °F minimum.

Food Safety Certificate

These days in the food business, it’s not enough to just hire someone based on their work ethic and willingness to learn, especially if they’ll be directly handling food within your food establishment. The law requires food business owners and managers to equip their food handlers with the appropriate training when it comes to hygienic food preparation and food safety, and this is where a food safety certificate comes in.  

What is it For?

Although it’s not a legal requirement in the UK yet, many food business owners prefer to equip their food handlers with a food hygiene certificate, regardless of whether they’ll actually be preparing or selling the food. These skills can be gained through self-study, on the job training, or through any prior experience that is relevant to the job.

The best part about food safety certificates in the UK is that they don’t have an expiry date, which means that the onus is on the food operator or the local environmental health officer to decide on the right time for a course update. However, it is generally a good idea to have a refresher course whenever new legislation comes into effect or technological developments force changes in the food handling process.

Food Safety Training Providers in the UK

Pay a visit to your local authority to inquire about whether or not they offer a formal training course on the subject. Other relevant training sources to consult apart from your local authority, would be the local library, a food safety awarding body or even a further education and training college. In fact, just a simple internet search could lead you to the nearest awarding body that you could then visit in order to find out further information.

There are online programs available as well that offer training on a diverse range of food safety training topics, from vacuum packing to managing food allergies, food labelling concerns, and the right food safety management systems to follow in order to ensure hygienic food preparation.

Check Out Training Videos

As mentioned above, online sources of information can be invaluable when it comes to expanding your knowledge and expertise on proper food handling and hygienic food preparation. Certain websites even offer short video courses that provide practical guidance on how to manage the most common food safety concerns that may arise in your business.

These videos will often take only 60 seconds of your time and cover a variety of food safety themes such as:

  • How to properly wash one’s hands before food preparation and after handling raw foods.
  • How to quickly chill certain foods.
  • How to ensure that food is thoroughly cooked through, especially poultry and white meant.
  • How to clean surfaces and cooking implements efficiently.
  • How to deal with ill staff members and what symptoms to look out for and manage.
  • How to do appropriate and consistent pest control, including the specific signs to look out for and what to do in the case of an infestation of any kind. 

Food Safety Hazards in the UK

It only takes one act of negligence on your part to get your food business in trouble with the public and the authorities, which is why food safety is such an important part of any food establishment. Should you find yourself in hot waters with the law, you’ll be glad to have all your ducks in a row with the proper paperwork and everything in place to prove that you’ve been running a respectable, hygienic and safe establishment.

Here’s what you should look out for and avoid so you can ensure complete food safety in the long term:

Hazard Types

Generally speaking, there are three kinds of food safety hazards to be aware of, namely biological, chemical and physical hazards, and here’s how they work:

  • Biological Hazards – They comprise of certain viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that occur as a result of below par food handling, or an external contamination of some sort. That’s why it’s important to verify your produce suppliers to ensure that they’re approved by SALSA or the BRC. The only course of action to take when your business experiences a biological hazard is to instantly dispose of the food it came with.
  • Chemical Hazards – These infiltrate your business through things like the oils used to calibrate your machines or pesticides in the raw ingredients/ produce. The best line of defence against chemical hazards is to conduct thorough inspections on all food deliveries to ensure that they are safe enough to eat, and be sure to write down your findings with each delivery so that you have clear records in case there are any issues with the delivery. Also organise your storage so that food items aren’t mixed with chemicals and vice versa.
  • Physical Hazards – Physical objects like a shard of glass or a piece of broken metal or wood can severely contaminate your food and lead to dangerous consequences for the customers who consume it. Food needs to be prepared mindfully and stored carefully in order to prevent any likelihood of getting contaminated by any harmful physical objects, no matter how minuscule they are.

Foodborne Illnesses

Spoiled or rotten food often leads to food-borne illnesses due to the bacteria, parasites or viruses that fester and proliferate as a result of poor food storage or management. The easiest way to prevent this kind of contamination from occurring is to strictly follow your HACCP food safety management system to the latter, while ensuring that food is cooked well and is safely stored.

Common Causes

  • Wrong Temperature and Timing – Not cooking food thoroughly and at the right temperature, holding food for too long or even cooling and reheating it too often can lead to the development of pathogens that threaten the safety of your food.
  • Cross Contamination – This happens when you mix uncooked poultry or white meat with cooked food, or when you don’t wash the hands thoroughly after handling these types of meat. The best way to avoid this is to prepare each food on a different surface with different tools and utensils.
  • Poor Individual Hygiene – Avoid this by washing hands with soap in between food preparation tasks. You should also take daily showers or baths; keep nails trimmed; keep wounds covered and refrain from handling food when wounded; wear a uniform including a cap and apron at all times; cover your hands with single-use gloves every time you cook or serve ready-to-eat food;  don’t cook when feeling sick; and remove all jewellery when you’re in the kitchen.

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.   

Food Safety Training

Equipping yourself and your staff with the relevant certification can help you deal more effectively with issues of food safety and hygiene. Most courses provide tailored training to address particular roles within the establishment, thus enabling everyone in the team to act from an informed standpoint in everything that they do.

You’ll also earn brownie points with your local authority officers on adhering to the expected food preparation processes and standards, and you’ll do well to study a course that’s specifically aimed at food hygiene so that you remain in alignment with the legal requirements that are expected by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

In today’s article, we’ll help you along with tips on how to choose the proper food hygiene course for you and your customer’s needs.

How to Choose the Best Food Hygiene Course

Subject to the specific role that you play in the food business, you may be required to undertake a Level 1, 2 or 3 course in food safety in order to carry out your duties well. However, if you already hold a higher level certificate, then you’ll be exempt from taking a lower level one, as the coursework will already have covered most of what you need to know.

Although food hygiene certificates in the UK don’t come with an expiry date, it might be a good idea to update your knowledge with a refresher course every now and then to keep up with changing legislation and technology. City and Guilds, as well as the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, are two of the most renowned awarding bodies in which to take your course if you’re in the UK.

Typically, anyone working in food manufacturing, retail or catering is required to have at least a Level 2 hygiene certificate, as it equips participants with the skills and knowledge needed to follow the right processes to maintain a high standard of food hygiene.

A Level 3 certificate is suitable for working as a supervisor or manager, as they’d be responsible for ensuring that the proper food safety systems are followed, including HACCP processes, on a daily basis.

On the other hand, a Level 1 certificate is ideal for those employees who aren’t involved in direct food handling or preparation, as well as those who handle food items that are considered ‘low risk’, such as vegetables, fruit or canned and otherwise already packaged food. Butchers also fit into this category because they only handle food that isn’t ready to serve yet.

Top Local Food Safety Providers to Check Out

Below is the top five list of the UK’s most renowned food safety training service providers, who are not only in compliance with HACCP and FSA regulations, but are also recognised by relevant awarding bodies as well.

  1. AT Coaching- London


43 Earlsferry Way


N1 0DZ



  • Amicus Compliance- South West


Pool Innovation Centre

Trevenson Road

Pool, Redruth


TR15 3PL

Telephone: 07975 587 999

  • New Directions- Cardiff


First Floor

Harlech Court

Bute Terrace, Cardiff


CF10 2FE


  • Apex Scotland- Edinburgh


9 Great Stuart Street

Edinburgh, Scotland




  • Metropolitan College- Belfast


Castlereagh Site

Montgomery Road

Belfast, Northern Ireland




HACCP Food Safety

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system, and it’s a food safety method that helps food establishments to systematically evaluate the way in which they handle food, and to acquaint food producers with useful and practical techniques that ensure proper food safety and hygiene.

These days, food businesses are fortunate enough to have access to a wide range of food management methods that are tailored to different sectors of the industry, which makes the process less complicated and more efficient for each sector.

For example, butchers have a different guide to food caterers, with the only unifying thread being that both are in compliance with the HACCP principles. Being in compliance with the HACCP method will also ensure that you consistently remain in good standing when a local or regional inspector comes along on a spontaneous visit.

Let’s take a look at how each of these systems works:

Types of Food Safety Management Systems

The following are just some of the tailored food safety management solutions that UK food businesses have to choose from:

  • Safer Food, Better Business – The SFBB method is aimed at assisting small food businesses specifically, to develop and implement sound food safety management procedures, which are in line with local and national food hygiene policies.
  • MyHACCP for Small Food Manufacturers – MyHACCP is a useful online guide that focuses on helping small food manufacturers to identify and manage common food safety hazards that might arise in their businesses. This enables them to maintain organized record-keeping of their food safety methods according to the principles set out in the HACCP system, all while making it available from the palm of your hand.
  • Safe Catering – An initiative of the UK government and food catering gatekeepers, this food safety monitoring system is tailor-made for the food catering sector in UK, with a focus on helping food caterers and retailers with a bespoke food safety management strategy that enables them to be in direct compliance with the HACCP principles.
  • HACCP in Meat Plants – The ‘HACCP in meat plants’ guide is a short and concise guide on how to complete an HACCP plan, while providing relevant knowledge on how to train employees to understand and implement the system throughout your entire organization, including a few model documents, a CD-ROM, a manual and a handy food safety management diary. This guide makes it easier for meat plants to comply with the internationally recognized food safety standards contained in the HACCP principles.
  • The Wild Game Guide – A unique guide has also been developed to assist wild game producers and suppliers to comply with the appropriate food hygiene standards and regulations that are expected of them. This goes for wild game hunters as well as those who supply it in small quantities or as an in-feather or in-fur product.
  • Butchers – Lastly, a comprehensive food safety and hygiene guide are also available for food butchers or those who work within butcher’s shops, and this information includes identifying potential food safety and hygiene risks, and developing actionable steps to maintain food safety. 

HACCP Principles for Food Safety

The HACCP food safety method operates according to seven laws or principles, each of which, when followed meticulously, allows you to recognise and manage safety hazards before they pose a safety threat to your food and the health of your customers.

How To Ensure Food Safety And Risk Management?

Identify the Hazards

In order to pinpoint the risks associated with your production process, you first need to evaluate each step of the process to determine the potential risks of each step. It could be Salmonella poisoning due to cross-contamination of cooked and raw meat, uncovered food being contaminated with the chemicals in your detergent for example, or getting a broken glass or metal piece into the food due to leaving it uncovered.

Determine the Critical Control Points

Recognise the particular points within the production process where contamination or poisoning risks are most likely to occur. For example, ensuring that meat is thoroughly cooked will eliminate the risk of getting dangerous pathogens such as Escherichia coli in the food.

Set Critical Limits

Establish boundaries that let you know when your critical control points have been reached, such as ensuring that burgers are cooked at a temperature of 75 degrees Celsius and above in order to kill harmful pathogens while making sure you don’t overcook them. 

Develop a CCP Monitoring System

Develop a system that’ll enable you to monitor what happens during each stage of the process, so that you’re able to better manage your CCPs. Simple touchstones such as time duration, temperature and measurements are a great way to keep track of what happens at each point in your CCPs. A good example would be to examine the food storage in your refrigerator to ensure that its temperature is being maintained at the standard temperature of below 5 degrees Celsius.

Develop Corrective Steps

These steps should be followed whenever CCPs get out of control: Should you examine the fridge only to discover that the food is below or above the required temperature, you should have corrective measures in place to help you deal with the issue, such as getting a technician to look at the fridge and disposing of the damaged food to prevent poisoning.

Establish Verification Procedures

Make changes to the system when necessary, to adapt to the changing conditions of your process, in order to make your operation more efficient over time. For example, it’s important to check the settings and capabilities of new cooking appliances and implements to ensure that they are in compliance with HACCP standards so that you’re able to achieve the same results consistently.

Establish Documentation

Document everything related to these principles and their execution within your process. The only way to ensure that you successfully implement the HACCP method within your organisation is to keep your house in order with consistent record keeping and documentation so that you can easily manage incidences like recalls and contamination. Having a written record will not only serve as evidence but will also help you maintain control while minimising paperwork.

What is HACCP?

HACCP is basically a world-renowned food and safety risk management method that’s designed to ensure that catering, hospitality establishments, and organisations adhere to proper food safety regulations. This means serving customers with clean and safe, yet palatable food that is produced in sanitary conditions. In turn, this gives customers, regulators and the general public a peace of mind knowing that a proper food safety program is being followed and maintained at their preferred establishment.

5 Steps to Developing a HACCP Plan

  1. Bring together a team of people who are going to be responsible for the HACCP within your organisation.
  2. Form an accurate and thorough description of your product.
  3. Categorise your product according to its intended use.
  4. Develop a flow chart.
  5. Make sure that the flow chart coincides with the onsite conditions by doing an on-site confirmation.

The Seven Principles

  1. Carry out an analysis of the hazards in your operational space.
  2. Detect the Critical Control Points to focus on.
  3. Make sure each critical control point has boundaries.
  4. Develop requirements for the proper observation and control of the critical control points.
  5. Develop corrective measures and actionable steps to implement them.
  6. Develop and maintain proper record keeping procedures.
  7. Keep your records up to date for purposes of verification.

How Does It Work?

HACCP is a system which has been specifically developed to address food safety by evaluating and managing food safety from a chemical, biological and physical standpoint. This involves evaluating food while it’s still in a raw state, as well as throughout the procurement and handling process. HACCP even monitors food safety levels in the manufacturing, distribution and consumption phases. It provides food vendors and manufacturers with an easy to follow yardstick that they use to manage the safety of their food.

It’s a hands-on and practical approach which enables one to truly minimise the risk of food contamination by carefully managing each aspect of its production process. Doing so enables you to mitigate the risks associated with common food hazards.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the HACCP method is most effective when combined with other measures such as practising good hygiene and sanitation, as well as having a rigorous pest control program in place, and ensuring trace-ability of the end product in case of a recall.

Why is HACCP Important?

The HACCP program is very important because it can directly mitigate incidences like product recall or customer complaints by effectively managing the risks associated with handling raw materials, different implements, and common errors.

The HACCP program also helps to increase awareness about these risks while improving the overall performance in implementing the different processes that go into creating the final product.

Additionally, being in compliance with the HACCP program automatically puts you into alignment with the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernisation Act, which is aimed at ensuring complete food safety and control.

Scroll to top
the web designer group uk
the web designer group logo

Close Button

Web Site Designed by

The Web Designer Group