4 Jun 2024

How a food safety compliance review benefits your catering business

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Catering businesses face a tough challenge when it comes to food safety compliance. Caterers must not only meet the same uncompromising food safety standards as restaurants but also overcome additional complications.  

The toughest of these is arguably ensuring the safe transportation of prepared food and ingredients at the correct temperatures. This is closely followed by having to work in unfamiliar venues, sometimes with inadequate facilities. 

Many catering firms choose to carry out regular food safety compliance reviews to avoid nasty surprises on audit day. 

 

What does a food safety consultant do? 

A food safety consultant can help catering businesses ensure food safety compliance by conducting regular food safety compliance reviews. With in-depth knowledge of relevant legislation such as the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene and Safety Regulations 2013, inspections will be equivalent to the inspections performed under the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

The consultant will consider the suppliers a business works with, procedures for the delivery and unloading of food, and how it’s stored. They will also look at preparation and cooking processes, paying particular attention to hygiene practices, cleanliness, maintenance and pest control, all of which must be documented.  

As part of their food safety compliance review the consultant will identify good practices, along with potential hazards and risks and produce an action plan to tackle areas of non-compliance. 

 

 

Benefits of using a food safety consultant 

There are many advantages to outsourcing food safety compliance to a dedicated food safety consultant 

  • Time-savings Contracting a food safety consultant frees managers to focus on other priorities such as revenue generation, secure in the knowledge that they’re complying with all applicable food safety legislation. 
  • Supports business-getting efforts – Prospective customers are likely to view food safety compliance as a non-negotiable criterion when selecting a new caterer. 

  • Improved odds Businesses have a much-increased chance of achieving the highest grades for food safety compliance certification with the benefit of an external consultant’s expertise. 
  • Saves money – Passing food safety compliance audits first time avoids the cost of repeat audits and the associated business disruption. 
  • Protects customers - In the catering trade, a simple oversight or mistake can result in illnesses like food poisoning. In extreme cases where allergens are involved, a food safety compliance failure can result in death. 
  • Protects Staff Your employees are your most valuable resource, and having frequent safety checks ensures they are protected from making costly mistakes, as well as freeing them from the stress of audits by ensuring a positive outcome. 
  • Reduced risk of reputational damageCourts have the power to issue unlimited fines and impose a two-year prison sentence on company directors for serious food safety offences. Supermarket giant Tesco recently hit the headlines when it was fined an unparalleled £7.56 million1 for out-of-date food offences at three of its stores.  

In summary, a food safety compliance review reduces the risk of unsafe food reaching consumers, minimises the risk of costly product recalls and helps catering businesses build a good reputation. 

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