The 29th November 2022 saw the launch of the Catering Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice. This guide is endorsed by both the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland and benefits from Primary Authority endorsement by Cornwall Council. Food Alert were involved with reviewing the guide and as Technical Director it was a pleasure to be directly involved in this.
The guide provides information on legal obligations for caterers and the practical requirements to comply with food hygiene law. It also offers advice to operators on good practice, which although is not a legal requirement, is likely to contribute to the overall achievement of good food safety and in turn result in satisfied customers.
At the launch, Kate Nicholls, CEO – UKHospitality, Katie Pettifer, Director of Strategy, Legal, Communications and Governance – The Food Standards Agency and Darryl Thomson, Safety Consultant – UKHospitality, spoke about the Guide and how important it is for businesses to meet their obligations to ensure safe food and encourage good practice. David Bashford, Managing Director at Food Alert chaired a very interesting panel discussion on the Guide and also the wider future of food safety.
The FSA noted that we are heading into a period when all laws inherited from EU will be reviewed including food safety. The FSA will be giving advice on this to ministers and they will want to ensure food safety law continues to protect public health and the standards supported in this guide. With Food regulation evolving, it is important that businesses can get accurate advice and the FSA are proud of the four-nation approach to the guide which makes it as easy as possible for businesses comply and the guide gives clear and concise information, and it will also be a useful tool for LA officers to refer to during their inspections.
The key changes and additions to the guide are summarised below:
The original guide was written in 1995 and there was a detailed review 6 years ago. This update in 2022 is more of a refresh but a key change is the availability online meaning that it can be updated much more easily and become an evolving document.
There are 4 new sections:
- Food crime
- Surplus food/donating leftover food to charity
- Freezing and defrosting of food
- Chilled vacuum-packed meats – shelf life
A key section to be updated is the allergen section. Key changes include:
- Allergens must be included in your HACCP. Whilst prerequisite controls still covering some areas such as training, there will be critical controls such providing accurate information and preventing cross contact which will need to be escalated when a allergy request is made.
- A Sub section in distance selling
- A Sub section on prepacked for direct sale (PPDS)
- A Sub section on substituted products
It is important to remember that this guide does not however refer to anything but Retained Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs and therefore it does not cover the Food Information Regulations etc., although there are useful links available in the document and relevant guidance.
In the Allergen Good practice section there are the following additions:
- Sub section on product reformulation
- Sub section on Precautionary Allergen Labelling (PAL) e.g., may contain
- Paragraph on unregulated allergens (i.e., not the 14 EU Allergens)
Other additions to the guide include:
- Good practice on cleaning ice machines
- Legal references and links updated
- Guidance on substituted products has been added (requested by members due to volatility in the markets)
- CCP decision tree has been reviewed and simplified
The Format has also changed and been simplified. Businesses want to know what to do, and the changes make this easier for businesses. The guide is available online plus there will also be an enhanced version for members of UK Hospitality.
With the guide in mind, Food Alert will be reviewing our template HACCP and will advise clients of these changes in due course. The guide will be available in Alert 65 document centre and can be downloaded here.