How important is your hygiene rating?
In every corner of the UK there are busy, bustling and buzzing hot food takeaway and restaurant businesses. The pace at which service for customers is needed could lead to cut corners or missed requirements with their food hygiene standards leading to potential problems for the business. On many occasions food establishments can fail food hygiene inspections due to a neglect of administrative paper work.
The Food Standards Agency seems hell bent on implementing mundane processes which make businesses jump through hoops in order to pass their ‘test’. Although maintaining high levels of food hygiene is important, it almost seems that they are more interested in ticking boxes. Having prompts to wash hands seems more important than the act of actually washing them so make sure you have the signs in all the correct places.
Extreme cases of failed food hygiene inspections across the North-West include; rats found within the premises, adult cockroaches found around pizza ovens and even faeces in food. Although keeping your score at 5 stars can be a mine field, there are many simple routines you can implement to achieve the highest rating and put customers mind at ease during their decision process of purchasing their food or drink.
Not least will the news of your poor hygiene rating spread around the area like wildfire takeaway platforms such as Just Eat recommend avoiding premises with a hygiene rating lower than 3. So what can you do to help achieve and maintain a 5 star hygiene rating?
Keep temperature check sheets near each area of food produce
The easiest way to keep on top of cleaning and administration is to make the task as easy as possible. If you and your staff create a routine of checking temperatures of all food stations you will not come unstuck when there is an inspection.
Have clean/separate areas for meat & vegetarian food preparation
Cross contamination between meat foods and vegetables is a big no-no with hygiene inspectors. Keep the two preparation areas away from each other and colour coordinated so that you and your staff can not mistakenly swap the utensils.
Cleaning rota including weekly deep cleans
Creating and maintaining a routine is the best way to keep on top of chores around your store. If each staff member is fully aware of their cleaning duties via a clearly listed rota there is no confusion as to whom is to complete each cleaning task. It’s best keeping a laminated rota close to the communal staff room and on in the front of house which can be changed daily.
Enforcing strict standards of personal hygiene among staff
One thing which hygiene standards look for is a high standard of personal hygiene among staff. Ensuring members of staff with longer hair have it tied back or in a net. Make sure staff members wash their hands each time they tend to food on either side of your meat/vegetables. Applying labels reminding staff to wash their hands around the preparation areas is great for this.
Train all staff in use of COSH, keeping up to date with any changes in practice
When cleaning the store it is important that staff are education in the ‘control of substances hazardous to health’. Mixing and diluting chemicals can be very dangerous if done incorrectly. There are procedural handbooks which staff members must work through and sign off before they should be allowed to use any of the chemicals. More information on ‘COSH’ can be found via HSE’s website by clicking here.
Conduct independent food hygiene audits personally and communicate any concerns to staff
As the owner of the business it is your responsibility ensuring the standards of cleaning and hygiene are of the highest order. Conduct random inspections yourself and be critical of areas you must improve on. Again, make this part of your routine and you will have no trouble achieving a five star hygiene rating you can proudly present in your shop window!
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