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Fines for bad food hygiene are on the increase

In recent years, fines for bad food hygiene practices have been increasing, and EHO’s have had to raise their standards higher than ever before when inspecting catering businesses. Understanding the correct procedures for safe food hygiene is crucial to achieving a pass, and more ideally, a five-star rating, on your Food Hygiene inspection.

In January 2018, a Birmingham restaurant was fined £50,000 for serving food on unhygienic wooden boards which may have caused multiple customers to contract food poisoning. This was in addition to a further £670 fine due to staff not washing their hands and inefficient cleaning of the property, as well as a £120 victim surcharge.

In the same month, an Edmonton restaurant director was fined £8,653 due to five food and hygiene offences. Despite being inspected in 2016 and 2017, the restaurant showed no improvements in its procedures, and was fined in 2018 for not correctly dealing with cross-contamination risks, having poor food safety management and no food hygiene training for its food handlers.

Of course, it should not only be the threat of fines that encourage businesses to get the correct training and ensure food safety procedures are in place. The risk of causing harm to your customers, ruining the reputation of your business, and selling food that is inedible should always be on your mind when you work in the food industry.

So, what do you need to know?

New guidelines on food safety are frequently being written, and often articles shared online can provide conflicting information about how best to ensure your business is hygienic and safe. A recent BBC documentary has shown that, on average, the dirtiest place in a kitchen is the cleaning cloth or sponge in the sink. The report suggests that microwaving the sponge will kill the germs that cause food poisoning, but a recent report published by The New York Times states that this could in fact increase the number of pathogenic microbes, and therefore be detrimental to hygiene and as a result, human health.

Get Trained.

The only way to ensure that you take the right advice and are adhering to good food hygiene guidelines is for you and your staff to take the appropriate Food Hygiene Training courses. NCASS Training courses have been created, inspected and triple-accredited by NCASS’ industry experts; City & Guilds; and Milton Keynes Council on behalf of the Government. They’re the most respected online food hygiene training courses a caterer can take.

Level 1: We recommend this for all temporary or part-time staff who do not handle open food and are under continuous supervision.

Level 2: We recommend this for all staff members who prepare or handle open foods.

Level 3: We recommend this for all catering business owners and supervisors.

It is a legal requirement that you can prove your staff are adequately trained for the job they do. The best way to ensure that your staff are adequately trained is to take our training courses. All completed courses provide a laminated, personalised certificate with the NCASS logo to display in your unit or kitchen and to show to EHOs during inspections.

What about the rest?

There are other training courses. Some are quicker to complete and cost less to take, but none will provide you with government-assured advice.

Although it may seem convenient to take a course that promises full training in half an hour, it is impossible for this course to provide you with enough information to run your business safely. At NCASS, we will never jeopardize the safety of caterers and their customers for the sake of appealing to those who want a quicker and cheaper option. Full courses are the only way to ensure you will not fail an EHO inspection, receive a hefty fine, or cause illness, or worse, death to a customer.

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