Food hygiene and safety

We aim to prevent illness from contaminated foods and reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects about 1 million people in the UK every year.

We inspect food businesses, encourage and enforce high standards of food hygiene, investigate complaints and offer advice, information and training.

Our policies

Public Protection Enforcement Policy (PDF)

View or download our Food and Feed Business Plan (PDF)

What can a business do?

A business can demonstrate that food is handled hygienically by:

  • high standards of personal hygiene – such as clean over-clothing such as aprons, appropriate headwear, minimal jewellery and regular hand washing
  • control measures being enforced to prevent cross contamination – such as separate areas for handling raw and cooked foods, proper use of colour coded chopping boards, and correct use of cleaning chemicals
  • foods being stored at the correct temperature – food stored in fridges maintained at less than 8°C and that the chill chain is protected
  • foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled – foods are cooked to 75°C or hotter and are checked visually for signs of thorough cooking, and cooled quickly and refrigerated as necessary
  • premises being clean and in good repair, having proof against pest entry, with adequate lighting and ventilation

It is a legal requirement for food businesses to provide documentary evidence that the food they produce is safe. This should:

  • identify and show an understanding of the food safety hazards (microbiological, physical and chemical) within the business
  • provide evidence that measures have been taken to control these hazards and that these measures are reviewed as appropriate
  • provide evidence that all food handlers are supervised and instructed and / or trained in food hygiene

The Food Standards Agency has produced systems to help create a documented food safety management system – Safer Food, Better Business or Safe Catering.

You are advised to discuss which food safety management system is suitable for your business with one of our food safety officers

You can contact us by calling 0300 300 8302.