The most important part of running a food business is maintaining hygienic practices and processes to keep your customers safe. Hygiene inspections go hand in hand with that.
Use these checklists to prepare for your hygiene inspection from a visiting EHO and to maintain food safety in your business. Give yourself a better shot at getting a 5 food hygiene rating score.
□ Completed, signed & dated food safety management system
□ Adequate hand washing facilities
□ A means for drying hands
□ A food preparation sink
□ A suitably equipped first aid kit
□ A probe thermometer
□ Fire protective equipment - extinguishers / fire blanket
□ Proof that you’ve registered your business with the environmental health department
□ A clean, tidy, safe and easily-cleanable workspace that doesn’t provide access to pests or places for bacteria to multiply
□ Adequate ventilation
□ Adequate refrigeration for storing high risk products
□ Appropriate cleaning equipment
□ A means for disposing waste
□ A means for temperature control & segregation (if transporting)
□ Portable hot and cold water of drinking quality
□ Good personal hygiene (you and your staff)
□ Protective clothing – head coverings are advisable though not compulsory
□ Evidence of food segregation i.e. raw and cooked foods
□ Evidence of hygiene training (for you and your staff)
□ Your EHO should be courteous throughout the inspection
□ They must show you identification before they start their inspection
□ They must provide feedback and guidance - i.e. outline hazards and suggest corrective action
□ They should clearly distinguish between legal requirements and recommended good practice
□ They must provide reasons for required actions in writing
□ When there’s an apparent breach of law, they must state that law
□ They must give you reasonable time to meet statutory requirements, unless there’s an immediate risk to public health
□ They should outline procedures for appeals against local authority action
□ They must comply with EU Food Safety Directives & Regulations, the Food Safety Act 1990, FSA code of practice, LACORS guidance and advice in relevant food industry guides
If so you should be aware that environmental health officers are legally obliged to inspect your business according to the NCASS Primary Authority Inspection Plan. NCASS members are entitled to ask EHOs to inspect them only to that plan, which was written by NCASS, approved by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) for use in all local authorities across the UK.
Inspectors work to the guidelines of the food safety code of practice when conducting hygiene inspections, unless they are inspecting NCASS members (when they are legally obliged to use the NCASS Primary Authority Inspection Plan). They’ll want to know that your premises (and prep kitchen if you have one) is suitable for hygienic food production. They’ll consider your foods, the way that you work and your FSMS (food safety management system).
Your inspection will result in a food hygiene rating (scored out of 5) which will appear on the FHRS website. If an EHO deems your food handling policies and procedures to be poor you’ll likely receive a low score and you might be required to make amendments before you can continue to trade.
5 out of 5, no question. Every NCASS member should be aiming for the top score to maintain the high standards for food safety that NCASS is so proud of (well done guys!). Anything under a score of 3 is really very undesirable – but you can always improve it over time if you take the right action.
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"The endless website of information, training, guidance, links and legislation. Then there is the customer care and patience. It really is 5 star. Where can you obtain a fraction of this anywhere else at your price! It makes me proud when we have our Local Authority inspections and are given the thumbs up every time thanks to NCASS."
Penny, Mango Rays (Mem 7812)
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