What thing do you look for when buying a product or a service from a company or seller? The reviews and ratings of them, right? And when it comes to food consumption, you’re likely to be more strict about the rating, so are other people. Generally, when we intend to go to a restaurant, we look for people’s feedback and ratings on social sites to become assured that the restaurant is serving good food. But there’s a possibility to get biased reviews on the internet. Luckily there’s a more reliable thing which is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
Whatever you own a restaurant or a catering service, if you own a food business, you must pass the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. And, having a 5-star rating would boost up your business growth as it assures the consumers that your food is safe to consume. In this article, I’ll walk you through the essential tips that would help you achieve the 5-star rating you need.
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?
This is a rating scheme established and monitored by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to rate the food businesses in the UK based on their hygiene and safety standards. It is applicable for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own system, which is the Food Hygiene Information Scheme.
When you open your food business, the FSA sends an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to inspect your premises. After inspection, you’ll be awarded a food hygiene rating based on food hygiene and safety practices of your business. FSA gives you a rating between 0 to 5, and each of them has a specific meaning. The meanings are enlisted by FSA as follows:
So, it’s clear that the higher the rating you have, the more safe food you’re serving. The ratings allow consumers to make an informed choice. You must target for achieving the 5-star rating.
Why is Food Hygiene Rating Important?
The sole purpose of a food hygiene rating is to inform people about the food hygiene standards of a restaurant or caterer. It helps people to understand which restaurant is safe to go. Moreover, it is a vital factor for business growth. If you have the 5-star rating, you’ll get more customers as people seek for that rating the most. But if you have a lower rating, you’ll lose your customers unless you improve the rating. So, you must be aware of your food hygiene rating.
Is It a Legal Requirement to Display the Food Hygiene Rating?
It is a legal requirement in Wales and Northern Ireland to display the rating in a visible place where the customers can easily spot it. FSA suggests displaying it in the front door, entrance or window of the business. On the other hand, In England, restaurants or other food businesses aren’t legally bound to display the rating physically. However, FSA encourages them to do so.
After an inspection in a restaurant, FSA uploads the rating on their website so that people can find the rating online. You can find the rating of a restaurant here by giving the business name and location.
What does an Environmental Health Officer look for?
To award your business a rating, an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) comes to inspect your business facility. The inspector looks for some specific parameters and scores your business accordingly. The major parameters include:
5 Tips to Achieve the 5-Star Rating in Food Hygiene
You’ve learned about the focus areas of the food hygiene rating. Complying with these parameters ensures you have a 5-star rating. Here are five pro-tips for you that can help you achieve your desired rating.
1. Maintain a safe food storage system
Storing food safely is essential for every food business. It is because contamination can happen in food storage if a proper storing guideline isn’t followed. So, you must know how to store food safely. It’s a good practice to keep the storage separate from the kitchen. If not possible, then using a separate designated area within the kitchen. Also, you must ensure raw foods and cooked foods are stored in different places. Raw foods contain numerous bacteria. It is highly possible to contaminate other foods if the raw foods come in close.
So, you have to guide and monitor your staffs to store foods properly. Also, ensure that no expired food is there in the storage. Always check the stock and practice stock rotation rather than overstocking to avoid wastage.
2. Ensure hygienic food preparation
You’re serving foods to your customers. So, you must ensure that the food is safe to consume. And, it is essential to focus on how the food is being prepared. Because contamination can occur during the preparation of food, that’s why you should employ the best and safest food preparation practices. The EHO will inspect this, and if he/she doesn’t find it satisfactory, you’ll get a lower rating.
So make sure the food is prepared in proper temperature, and the kitchen staffs are wearing the right kitchen dress. Avoid using the same kitchen equipment to process and prepare raw foods and ready to eat foods. If it is not possible to use separate equipment, wash and disinfect it after processing raw foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, etc.
3. Focus on cleanliness
Along with the safe preparation of food, a neat and clean environment is a must for the 5-star rating. So, maintain the cleanliness of your kitchen and dining space. Establish a cleaning schedule and implement it strictly. Focus on every corner of your premises to ensure no dirt is left behind. Also, follow a proper waste management system and check it every day to get rid of wastes before they pile up.
4. Train your staffs
Training your staffs is essential for food hygiene. They should have deep knowledge about food hygiene best practices. They should know the importance of wearing protective kitchen clothing and head coverings while handling food. Also, they need to have a clear understanding of the HACCP system to prepare and handle foods safely and avoid contamination. That’s why proper training is a must, and adequate refresher training should also take place to maintain the streak.
5. Keep records up to date and accurate
Record keeping is vital for a 5-star rating. The inspector may ask for the records and documents of your food hygiene practices while investigating your business. If you fail to provide an accurate and updated report, you may get a lower rating. So keep the records updated regularly. The records usually include temperature check, cleaning schedules, staff training, food hazards, etc.
Now let’s conclude here. You’ve learned about the food hygiene ratings and how to get the 5-star rating. However, it wouldn’t be fruitful enough if you don’t have a thorough understanding of food hygiene and safety. So it would be better to train yourself in this regard. You don’t need to go far to get training. Training Express is offering a bunch of online courses on food hygiene and safety. Explore our catalogue and take the training that suits you the most.