Commercial Kitchens Have to Comply With Two Sets of Regulations to Protect Staff and Customers

Published: 06th June 2011
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Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Catering organisations of all sizes have to pay attention to hygiene in order to protect customers’ health and therefore business, but there is considerable confusion between the rules of food hygiene and the rules of health and safety.

The UK Food Standards Agency is the body that regulates food hygiene and enforces it, while the Health and Safety Executive is the regulatory body for enforcement of safe working practices.

In 2006 new EU rules were put in place tightening food safety regulations so that catering establishments must now have a written food safety management system showing how the kitchen ensures that food is produced safely, hygienically, without the risk of cross contamination.

FSA guidelines state that foods must be hygienically handled. Staff have to be supervised appropriately and should be nstructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters so that they can carry out their work hygienically.

Any haszards to handling food safely and hugienically have to be identified along with procedures for ensuring they cannot happen as well as documenting evidence that regular checks are carried out.

Health and Safety procedures, on the other hand, are primarily designed to protect those working in a kitchen from accident and injury. Catering is one of the higher risk working environments for the risk of injury because of the use of machinery, of cooking ingredients at high temperatures, using sharp implements and all of these very often in a highly rushed environment. Kitchen floors can become slippery and dangerous and have to be frequently washed, but then dried to ensure they are safe to walk on when people are rushing about.

Management leadership is crucial to getting both these elements of working in a kitchen right and this means both training for everyone involved and then making sure they are all applying it. Warning and advisory notices should be prominently displayed explaining the rules and as a reminder.

Where food hygiene practices and health and safety come together, however, is in the maintenance of a clean environment. A proper regime of cleaning surfaces and equipment using the appropriate chemical cleaners makes it much easier to ensure food hygiene. Efficient and safe disposal of waste is also essential.

The best daily cleaning practise in a busy kitchen may not prevent build-up of grease and other residues either at high level, in hard to reach areas or in the nooks and crannies under or behind large, heavy appliances and work tables.

For absolute confidence in both food and hygiene and health and safety standards it would be wise to have a regular programme of kitchen deep cleaning carried out by a specialist contractor with the training, knowledge and equipment to carry out a thorough deep clean from top to bottom.

It is normally possible to arrange for the service to be carried out at times when the kitchen is less busy or not in use at all so that disruption is kept to a minimum and a professional cleaner will also provide a report of all that has been done to add to the records businesses increasingly must keep to prove they are taking the regulations seriously.


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Commercial catering is covered by two sets of rules, on food hygiene and health and safety, but many managers confuse the two.  However, a regular kitchen deep clean is one operation that can help with both sets of regulations. By Ali Withers.

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