Today, on World Food Safety Day, Central Bedfordshire Council is reminding food businesses to focus on maintaining high food safety standards and that their team is here to support them to improve and keep consumers safe.
Food safety officers inspect food businesses to check that they follow food hygiene and safety laws so the food is safe to eat. They give the business a rating from zero (urgent improvement required) to five (hygiene standards are very good).
This forms the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) which helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them clear information about the businesses’ hygiene standards.
Nationally, there are estimated to be around 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness a year, and common food poisoning bacteria include Campylobacter and Salmonella. Two million people in the UK also live with a food allergy, 600,000 people have coeliac disease, and others have food intolerances.
Food safety risks can be reduced by food businesses taking action on cleaning, pest control, food safety management and addressing food substitution issues which can cause risks for people with allergies and intolerances, and other vulnerable persons.
Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said “Good food safety makes better business sense. As we have returned to business as usual after COVID it’s even more important that we continue to focus on food safety standards in Central Bedfordshire. We have plenty of information to support food businesses to improve where necessary.
“We’re here to maintain food safety standards for our residents and we’re reminding businesses that a visit from one of our food safety inspectors can happen at any time.”
Michael Jackson, Food Standard Agency’s Head of Regulatory Compliance, said: “Many food businesses already meet good standards of hygiene, and we know this is important to consumers who want to feel confident that the food they choose won’t make them ill.
“Food safety issues like food poisoning and incidents of undeclared allergens, can cause unnecessary suffering for individuals, as well as impacting on their families. We work in collaboration with Central Bedfordshire council who support businesses and help them understand the regulatory requirements.”
Food businesses in Central Bedfordshire must be registered with Central Bedfordshire Council.
The FHRS rating shows how well the business is doing overall, based on standards found at the time of inspection. The ratings can be found online and on stickers that are displayed on business premises.
More information for small businesses on food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations is available on food.gov.uk.