e-GR | Food Hygiene Rating/ Hand washing/ Bedbugs/ Listeria guidance/ Spring cleaning

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Goodbye winter, so long snow, its time to watch the flowers grow

Welcome to the spring edition of e-GR. In this edition we will be looking at how to reduce the risk of listeria in health and social care facilities, pest control, the legal consequences of displaying a false hygiene rating certificate, deep cleaning and hand washing. 


False Declaration of Food Hygiene Rating Scores Prosecuted

When you display your food hygiene ratingor use it as part of your advertising, it is extremely important that you use the correct score. A number of prosecutions have been taken by Trading Standards Departments across England over the past year against traders in relation to the fraudulent display/use of food hygiene rating scores. In each of the prosecutions the businesses were displaying or using in advertising materials, food hygiene rating scores higher than that which they were actually awarded, in one case for example a restaurant, boasted in its advertising that it had a five – star food hygiene rating when in fact at its last inspection it had been rated at zero!

The businesses were prosecuted under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and on being found guilty were fined by the courts, costs were awarded and victim surcharges imposed.
So when using your food hygiene rating score in advertising, please check that you are displaying the correct score. Alternatively if you believe that a business is falsely declaring their food hygiene rating score to gain an unfair market advantage, please feel free to contact your local Trading Standards Department to advise them of your concerns.

No 2

Hand Washing Facilities for Customers

Spring is in the air and people’s thoughts are naturally turning to getting back into the great outdoors. Activities may include camping on land that has been used by animals over winter, going on woodland walks, visiting a petting farm or taking part in water activities. All these places have the potential for customers to pick up bacteria such as salmonella, cryptosporidium, e-coli or toxoplasmosis etc. onto their hands.

If you have a food business on or near and one of these activity premises, it’s important that your customers are able to wash their hands sufficiently to avoid illness.

Ensure you have an adequate supply of clean, hot water, an antibacterial soap available and a hygienic method for people to dry hands. Put up signs advising people to wash their hands before eating and drinking and direct them to the hand washing facilities. People may be tempted to use hand gels and wipes during visits to places where farm and wild animals may have been, but although they remove visible dirt and contamination, they may not be effective in removing the germs found on the ground, on fences etc.

By encouraging your customers to maintain good hand hygiene it can help avoid illness, ensure they have a fun day out and avoid potential complaints about “food poisoning”. You can find a hand washing checklist here.

No 3

Don’t let the bedbugs bite 

Pests, so called because of their unwitting ability to cause damage, have an admirable ability for survival making them a nightmare for any business that is unlucky enough to have them visit.

Fleas, bedbugs and cockroaches can be carried on people’s clothes, bodies and luggage enabling them to travel large distances with little effort. Premises that receive a lot of transient visitors such as hotels are susceptible to infestation by these smaller globetrotting pests. Once they arrive at their new homes, these insects' small size, efficient reproductive systems and nocturnal lifestyles mean that they can go almost undetected until it is too late.

Once discovered these pests can ruin hard earned reputations and cost their unfortunate landlords £1000s in lost revenue and treatment costs.

Knowing the signs and having an effective pest management plan in place will increase the chances of early detection and treatment of an infestation, saving money and your reputation.

Click here for a comprehensive guide to pest management.

No 4

Healthcare and Social Care - Listeria Guidance

Help to protect the vulnerable people you care for by keeping up to date with the latest guidance. 
In 2016 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released “Reducing the risk of vulnerable groups contracting Listeriosis”.
Listeria can cause serious illness and death. Although it is rare, the guidance provides you with steps to help you to protect your customers - who are likely to be at an increased risk.
Listeriosis can be linked to eating chilled ready-to-eat (RTE) food, such as cooked meats, pate, smoked fish, blue and mould-ripened soft cheese, pre-packed sandwiches and prepared salads.
You can find the full guidance here and further information can also be found on the FSA Website.

No 5

Time for a Spring Clean

Spring is the ideal time of year for a deep clean of your kitchen and review of your cleaning regime. 

Bacterial levels can be controlled with effective cleaning. Cleaning products come in three groups; detergents, disinfectants and sanitisers.  Detergents remove grease and dirt from surfaces and equipment, these are used in conjunction with disinfectants which kill the bacteria once the grease has been removed. Alternatively you can use a sanitiser which both cleans and disinfects in one. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using chemicals, dilute them correctly and leave them on for the specified contact time. Ignoring manufacturers instruction can render a cleaning product ineffective.

Disinfectants and sanitisers should meet BS EN standards which will be detailed on the product label. 

When cleaning use disposable cloths wherever possible and throw them away after each task. When wiping surfaces, equipment or utensils used for ready to eat food then always use a new or freshly cleaned and disinfected cloth. If using re-usable cloths then wash them in a washing machine on a hot cycle of 90oC.

Clearing and cleaning as you go is the best policy as this prevents dirt from building up and saves time and effort in the long run! 

A cleaning schedule is a useful tool to help you clean effectively in your business.  There is a cleaning schedule template and an example in the Safer Food Better Business pack.
Please remember these health and safety precautions when using cleaning chemicals: do not mix different chemicals together, if you decant chemicals label the containers and wear personal protective equipment such as gloves (and goggles if handling oven cleaner).  It is best to store bulk chemicals away from food areas to avoid contamination. 

Happy cleaning!