All Food Business operators must complete and maintain a food safety management system. This is simply a risk assessment of your food business which identifies what might go wrong with the food that you sell and what you must do to ensure it is safe for your customers.
The food safety management system must be sufficient for the scope of the business so may be very simple for certain small business such as B & Bs, to more in-depth complex systems for high risk businesses such as butchers or large caterers. Food safety management systems can come in various forms however all must be based on the principles of H.A.C.C.P (Hazard analysis critical control points).
Why food safety management systems are important?
- It is a legal requirement for all businesses
- If your business is taken to court, you may be able to demonstrate that you had exercised diligence through arrangements in place to prevent an offence being committed
- It helps to ensure food is safe for customers to eat
- It forms an important part of the score given for the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
What do I have to do?
A food business operator must have a written food safety management system for their food business, which needs to include the following elements:
- Identifying risks to food safety in the food business (What can go wrong, when and where?)
- Identifying what controls need to be put in place to prevent these food safety risks (What can I do to prevent it going wrong?
- Ensuring the controls are carried out (How am I checking they are in place? Who is responsible?
- Does everyone understand their role?)
- Ensuring the procedures are kept up to date (How do I confirm this is still working/relevant)
You will need to keep documents and records to show the procedures and how they are working.
Safer Food Better Business
The Food Standards Agency has written a system to help food businesses comply with the requirement to have a Food Safety Management System, the system is called “Safer Food Better Business” or “SFBB” for short.
SFBB packs are available to download direct from the Food Standards Agency.
Packs are also available that are designed for Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri-Lankan cuisines, and a pack for Chinese cuisine is also available written in Chinese. Furthermore, for those whose first language is not English, a multi-lingual SFBB DVD has been produced and gives information on how to complete the pack and has the addition of videos to demonstrate some of the important points of food safety. There are also specially designed packs available for childminders, food retailers and care homes.
These packs are not generally suitable for more complex/high risk business such as butchers and manufacturers, and further advice should be sought from the Food and Occupational Health Team.