Mobile catering and food safety at festivals

by Tay Potier – Royal Borough of Greenwich

The long-awaited return of the festival and outdoor events season is in full swing!

Here is a reminder of our top tips so that you can continue to have a great season.

1. Check and test all your equipment before the event to avoid potentially having to find a last-minute replacement. Make sure it is clean and properly inspect everything! Are the necessary gas and electrical certification up to date for all your units?

2. Are your food safety certificates still up to date? Are all staff fully trained and knowledgeable about the menu and any allergens within it? Have you all done allergen training? What about Prepacked for Direct Sale foods (PPDS)? There have been recent changes to allergen labelling PPDS food, so ensure that you have checked if/how this applies to you and what to do if it does (see the NCASS and FSA website for more information).

3. Ensure that your Due Diligence System is up and ready. Remember to review it and then put it into practice. You must have everything in place and ensure that everything is right. Do the risk assessments for all your units due to trade, accurately reflect the food that will be cooked and the equipment that will be used? You may be inspected at an event, so you must be able to demonstrate that you can handle, prepare and cook food safely and effectively.

4. Remember you must control all hazards, including food safety hazards and health and safety. Write a checklist and double (or even triple!) check everything, test your systems and take back-ups and spares wherever you can.

5. Carefully examine the organisers and local authority requirements for any event that you are attending. Do you meet the required standards? Will you need an alcohol licence? Is your insurance up to date and provide full coverage for the event and the type of unit you’re trading from? Do the organisers require a certain FHRS to trade? Will the local authorities be able to carry out an inspection in time if you are newly registered? Some local authorities have a backlog of inspections, which is delaying visits, so check before you sign up.

6. Check with the organisers that you will have access to a portable water supply. What are the arrangements for refuse and are there additional, suitably located, hand wash facilities available for example? Don’t assume anything, always ask and verify.

7. Don’t forget the weather! Consider how to keep your food cold on hot days and dry on those wet ones. Think it through and plan accordingly before you set off, don’t wait till you get there and get caught out.

8. Remember, things may not always go exactly to plan – but that can be part of the fun! Plan ahead and put everything that you know into practice whilst remaining prepared to adapt and problem solve as and when necessary.

9. If this is your first season, or you haven’t traded for a while have a look at the NCASS website for more great tips and advice and remember that your account manager is there for advice!

10. Enjoy yourself! We’ve all missed so much over the past few years so have fun, smile and delight in the experience!

This article is a personal view of the author and may not reflect the views of the Royal Borough of Greenwich or any other organisation.

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