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.
Your checklist for hygiene inspections
- Completed, signed & dated food safety management system
- Completed allergen information table
- 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)
And here’s what you can expect from the EHO
- 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
Are you an NCASS member?
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.
How do EHOs judge a food business?
Inspectors work to the guidelines of the food safety code of practice when conducting hygiene inspections. They will judge your business against three criteria: Food Hygiene and Safety Procedures, Structural Requirements and Confidence in Management. Marks are made for non-compliance and added together to calculate a total score. The lower the marks, the higher the overall rating out of 5.
What will the results of an inspection be?
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.
What hygiene rating should you be aiming for?
Every NCASS member should be aiming for the top score of 5 to maintain the high standards for food safety that NCASS is so proud of. Anything under a score of 3 is really very undesirable – but you can always improve it over time if you take the right action. To help caterers prepare for food hygiene inspections, we provide assured advice and guidance including inspection checklists and accredited training packages.