Compliance with food safety and hygiene legislation is important as it ensures that consumers can buy and consume food with confidence. If you don’t comply with food safety and hygiene legislation, you will be subject to investigation by the UK Food Standards Agency. To comply with food safety and food hygiene legislation, you must comply with the principles stated in the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). Knowing how to comply with food safety and hygiene legislation is therefore of the utmost importance for food businesses.
Food Safety and Food Hygiene Legislation:
The Food Standards Act 1999: This Act establishes the functions and powers of the Food Standards Agency, an independent government department which aims to protect consumers from harmful foods produced by food businesses in the UK.
The Food Safety Act 1990: This Act provides the framework for food-related legislation in England, Scotland and Wales. The main responsibilities for food businesses involve ensuring that nothing is included in food which could damage the health of those eating it. Food must be served and sold with the quality that a consumer would expect, and food must be labelled and advertised properly, not in a way which could be misleading.
The Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 (England): These regulations apply to food businesses in England, to ensure that everything carried out is done so hygienically. If you manufacture or distribute food, you must do so in line with these regulations. These regulations are supported by the European Regulation 852/2004.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) will ensure that food regulations are maintained. If they aren’t, the FSA will investigate and subsequently bring to prosecution those who have failed to abide by the expectations. This can be damaging for organisations, as they can face fines, prosecution, imprisonment and bad press. Therefore, complying with food safety and hygiene is important.
In April 2012, the restaurant Flicks, in Northern Ireland, received a large fine after there was an E. coli outbreak. The restaurant was fined £110,000 after it was discovered that 141 people fell ill, with 19 in hospital. It was found that ingredients such as parsley were not washed efficiently and there was a lack of hand washing facilities, totalling in 11 separate breaches of food hygiene.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles
The HACCP principles allow food businesses to effectively manage their food safety and food hygiene practices as best as possible. This includes looking at the current procedures which are in place and making sure these prioritise high standards of food safety and food hygiene. You must conduct a hazard analysis to identify critical control points and areas which you need to focus on, whilst making sure procedures are working to protect consumers from hazards. Ensure you keep a record of your steps to prove that you have conducted the HACCP principles.
Therefore, it is important to ensure you comply with food safety and hygiene legislation by implementing and maintaining strong food safety and hygiene procedures.