Whilst we are responsible for regulating food hygiene in food businesses and carrying out your inspections; it is the Food Standards Agency who is the national agency responsible for food safety and hygiene across the UK.
Food Standards Agency
You will find a wealth of information and courses to assist new and established food businesses on their website. Some key areas to start are:
Food Safety Management System
All food business must have a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in place, its purpose is to identify and control possible food hazards within a food business in order to ensure that food is safe to eat.
The Food Standards Agency have a free to download FSMS pack called Safer Food Better Business (SFBB), which is jargon free, and covers cooking, cleaning, chilling, cross contamination and management procedures.
Hertsmere Borough Council run workshops throughout the year teaching business the correct way to complete their SFBB packs, for those that need guidance. Further information on our upcoming workshops can be found on our dedicated training page.
We can also provide you with a printed version of this pack at a cost of £10. Please email the food team if you wish to purchase a pack from us.
Better Business for All have also created a FSMS called Hertfordshire Safe Food Pack. This is another freely available pack to all Hertfordshire businesses.
Food businesses have a legal duty to provide information about the presence of the 14 allergens (PDF 210 KB) required to be declared by law which is within the food and drink they sell.
There are resources available in a number of differing languages to assist those within the food industry.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute have a number of resources available including a full Allergen Awareness training video, The 14 Allergen Posters a Be Allergy Aware handout as well as some social media links.
These resources can be found in the following languages:
The Food Standards Agency also provide guidance for food businesses on providing allergen information and resources.
Information on the new changes on the requirements on Pre Packed Direct Sale (PPDS) foods can be found on our Important changes to food businesses webpage.
Managing Fats, Oils and Grease
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) are generated during the preparation, cooking and cleaning up of food, pots and pans, utensils, crockery and the kitchen itself. If FOG and leftover food go down your pipes, they will become solid and block your drains.
It is important that everyone working for you knows the best way to manage your kitchens waste. Training employees and helping them understand the
need for grease management and good kitchen practice can really help to prevent
blockages in your business’s pipes.
Our best advice
- Scrape any leftover food into the bin and wipe pots and utensils with paper towels before washing up
- Use sink strainers in plug holes
- Install a Grease Removal Unit or Grease Separator as a form of grease management to prevent FOG reaching your waste pipes
- Clean and maintain any grease management equipment regularly
- Collect leftover FOG in an airtight container and arrange for it to be collected by a licensed waste contractor
- Keep a record of grease management maintenance and FOG waste collection dates
What the law says
Keeping fats, oils and grease out of drains is always the most effective solution to keep your pipes clear of blockages. Discharging these substances is illegal and you could face fines or prosecution under Section 111 of The Water Industry Act 1991 if you damage sewers.
For more information please visit the Thames Water's website.
EU Transition (Brexit)
As of 1 January 2021 there are new rules for businesses and citizens following the UK's departure from the EU.
If you import goods from the EU, export goods to the EU, move goods to or from Northern Ireland, travel to the EU, live or work in the EU or if you are staying in the UK if you're an EU citizen you need to act now.
You can get a complete list of what you need to do for you, your business and your family.
As of 1 October 2021 new actions are required for businesses importing products of animal origin into Great Britain from the EU.
Webinars are also available for importers of food and drink products from the EU to Great Britain
For further business advice please view our Business support and advice page and our EU Transition for businesses page
The Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is also a good source of information for businesses.
Future changes in legislations
Food labelling requirements for prepacked for direct sale food (PPDS) will change from 1 October 2021 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Food Standards Agency have created a dedicated PPDS page with all the new guidance, tools and videos.
For up-to-date information on changes in legislations please check our dedicated webpage.
The Food Standards Agency have produced guidance on 'How to safely host a street party'.
If you are organising a public event, further information and guidance can be found on our organising an event webpage.