Why do you need a due diligence system?

There are a few reasons why every food business needs to have a due diligence system in place (and to stick to it like glue). Here are the most important:

  • It includes food safety management processes, policies and procedures that combine to help reduce the chances of you causing contamination and food poisoning

  • It’s a legal requirement to have one in place, and to use it to help make your food business safe

  • It would be pretty much your only defence in the nasty event of prosecution

Hopefully you’re starting to see why your due diligence system is so important for your food business.

What exactly is in it?

The following documents are all aimed to help you run your food business safely, efficiently and practically. We’ve split them up into two sections so you can see which items help you deal with food safety and which help you look after health & safety in your business.

Food safety documents:

  • Daily recording diary, where you record your fridge and freezer temperatures and cleaning duties every day

  • Food safety risk assessment which pinpoints potential hazards and helps you put measures in place to minimise or prevent them

  • Cleaning schedule, plan, flowchart and risk assessment to help you keep food safe through regular and appropriate cleaning

  • Table for allergenic ingredients as you’re legally required to be able to tell customers where any of the 14 major allergens are present in your dishes

  • Food safety training requirements and register for you to record how highly your staff are qualified in food hygiene

  • Pest control policy and register to help prevent infestation and food contamination

Health & safety documents:

  • Health & safety policies and risk assessments to minimise hazards that could cause injury

  • Complaints procedures, registers and disclaimers so you know what to do if a customer or staff member has something bad to say about your business

  • Fire risk assessments specific to the type of unit you trade from so you can minimise fire risks and keep people safe

  • First Aid and accident policy and register, so you know what to do if anyone gets injured at your workplace

  • Vehicle and equipment records so you can keep track of your vehicles and drivers

All of these essential documents, and more, are included in the NCASS due diligence system so that you can outline and record the policies, procedures and actions you take to keep your staff and customers safe.

The code of practice 

As an NCASS member, one of the most important things you’ll find in the NCASS due diligence system is the code of practice for mobile and outside caterers. It’s a vital document that covers all aspects of training (including food safety and health & safety).

You need to make sure you read and understand all of it, not only because it will help you trade more safely but also because your EHO will assess you to the set of standards laid out in the code of practice.

Why should you stick to your due diligence system? 

Carefully and conscientiously following the processes set out in your due diligence system is the most efficient way to regulate food safety and health & safety within your business. When an EHO visits they’ll be able to look at the food safety procedures in your due diligence system and evaluate whether your business is running safely.

The more appropriate your due diligence system is for your business needs, and the closer you stick to the policies and procedures set out in it, the more likely you are to receive a higher food hygiene rating. And NCASS wants all of its members to achieve a level 5 rating. That means you!

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