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Food for Thought: Restaurant Hygiene Compliance

Since 2008, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has operated a ratings scheme to measure businesses’ hygiene standards. It makes hygiene compliance critical, as consumers can now search for a businesses’ rating online to help them choose where they eat.

Read on as we take a closer look at the ratings scheme and what restaurants need for hygiene compliance.

Introducing the rating scheme

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, to use its full name, gives businesses a rating between 0 and 5. This is based on how well their establishment adheres to hygiene standards, where 0 requires urgent improvement and 5 is very good:

0 – Urgent improvement required

1 – Major improvement required

2 – Some improvement required

3 – Generally satisfactory hygiene standards

4 – Good hygiene standards

5 – Very good hygiene standards

Who gets rated?

Hygiene ratings can be given to anywhere where food is sold, supplied or just consumed, including restaurants, pubs and cafes, but also any of the following:

  • Workplace canteens
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Care homes
  • Hotels
  • Takeaway restaurants
  • Food vans or stalls
  • Supermarkets or shops selling food

How are they rated?

To rate businesses, local authorities send a food safety officer to undertake a full inspection. They check three key areas:

  • Food handling – How safe are practices for food preparation, cooking, storage, cooling and reheating?
  • Physical environment – Is the layout, lighting and ventilation hygienic? This includes cleanliness and pest control.
  • Hygiene management – How does the establishment keep food safe? From staff training to cleaning processes, this gives inspectors an idea of how standards will be maintained or improved following the inspection.

To get the best rating, businesses need to perform well in each of these three elements. Any failures will result in a rating of less than 5 and specific reasons will be given. That way, businesses know how they can work to improve their next rating.

Improving hygiene compliance

So, what steps should restaurants take to improve their hygiene compliance?

Everyone who handles food is required by law to have level 1, level 2 or level 3 food hygiene training depending on the degree to which they’re involved in food handling. This covers the vast majority of food handling hygiene and hygiene management, so most restaurants are well aware of how to handle food safety. With this in mind, step one is to make sure all staff have up to date training.

However, one area where many restaurants slip up is their physical environment. While it’s required by law to keep staff training up to date, many businesses fall behind with the facilities in their kitchen.

To remain fully compliant, restaurant kitchens should be kitted out with hygienic facilities and furniture from top to bottom. This includes surfaces like table tops, floors and even walls. Even with regular cleaning, unsuitable surfaces or those in a poor condition can be impossible to maintain.

Hygienic wall cladding for your restaurant

Flaking walls and hard-to-maintain tiles are no longer suitable for modern, hygienic kitchens. Fortunately, Igloo Surfaces offers an alternative that’s long lasting, cost-efficient and refreshingly easy to install. Our Arctic PVC wall panels are the perfect solution for commercial kitchens of any size. They’re low maintenance, highly durable and have an excellent rating.

Contact us today for more information.

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