In fact, don’t just expect it, prepare for it!  That was the theme of this year’s World Food Safety Day, which took place on 7th June, supported by the World Health Organisation. It urged everyone – from governments to small businesses – to consider the potential risks to food safety and have a plan in place to deal with them.

Globally, 1 in 10 people are affected by a foodborne illness.  Sometimes, these can be caused by circumstances beyond our control – power cuts, weather events or supplier problems – but they can also be caused by inadequate controls or training within our organisations.  Whatever the cause, dealing with a food safety incident quickly and decisively is key to preventing further problems and, potentially, putting a business at risk.

I would argue that there are three elements to predicting and planning for any potential food safety risks:

Planning

Is food safety planned or was it achieved by accident?

I would urge you do a risk assessment of what could possibly go wrong and – most importantly – what the impact would be if it did. Similar to risk assessments in Health & Safety you would look at: what is the risk, what is the potential impact, how likely is it and what can you do to mitigate that risk.

Do you have a food safety management system in place based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points)? If you need some help in adopting a food safety management system, try my advice on that here.

Having established what could go wrong, you can them reflect on your training and procedures to decide if you need to put anything else in place.  From a liability point of view, I would suggest that having and regularly updating such a Food Safety Management plan also demonstrates your proactive approach to managing risk.

Training

Well-trained staff are the eyes and ears of any business.  Ensuring your whole team has some food safety training will mean that they are more likely to spot potential risks and be pro-active about preventing or resolving them.  They will understand the importance of following procedures for the labelling, storage and preparation of food.  My blog on the importance of having a food safety ‘culture’ in your organisation explains more here.

However, beyond food safety training, it’s also important to train your staff in customer service and dealing with any complaints.  If a customer makes a complaint, they want to feel that they are being taken seriously and that the issue they have raised (whether illness or something else) will be dealt with appropriately.  (Chances are they are less likely to report you to an external authority if they feel you will deal with an issue, not that that should be our primary concern).  Ensuring that your staff are all aware of your complaints’ procedure is vital.  My previous article on dealing with a complaint, here, also includes a template for a form you might find helpful when recording an alleged food safety issue.

Procedures

As a commercial kitchen, you will already be aware that you need to have a number of procedures in place to help manage food safety risks.  The challenge can sometimes be keeping up with changes required by legislation.  Of course, the Catering Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice is big help; you can find it here.

Do you have robust procedures for staff to follow from purchase through every step to service. The Safer Food Better Business pack is a great resource that can be used as it is or parts of it can be incorporated into your Food Safety Management system and can be found here. It is a jargon free resource that details best practice procedures to follow.

In conclusion

Where there is food, there are potential food safety risks.  However, with some preparation, these risks can be managed appropriately to ensure the best possible outcome for all.

What Our Customers Say About Us

Your passion for the subject and knowledge you imparted to my team will no doubt make a huge difference as they go about passing this on to our franchisees and their team members in our stores. My team spoke very highly of their time with you and I can see the confidence boost your course has given them in this critical area of expertise

Laura Carter

GH Training Solutions
5.0.0
2018-07-02T14:55:54+01:00

Laura Carter

Your passion for the subject and knowledge you imparted to my team will no doubt make a huge difference as they go about passing this on to our franchisees and their team members in our stores. My team spoke very highly of their time with you and I can see the confidence boost your course has given them in this critical area of expertise
As an experienced trainer myself, I recognise and recommend the quality of Ghislaine's training and style of delivery, particularly the way she met the individual needs of everyone on the course and made sure that we were fully engaged and able to share our own knowledge in a supportive and positive environment.

Rod Carver - Level 3 Food Safety Attendee

GH Training Solutions
5.0.0
2019-02-01T12:23:29+00:00

Rod Carver - Level 3 Food Safety Attendee

As an experienced trainer myself, I recognise and recommend the quality of Ghislaine's training and style of delivery, particularly the way she met the individual needs of everyone on the course and made sure that we were fully engaged and able to share our own knowledge in a supportive and positive environment.
At Southern Co-op, we have worked with Ghislaine (GH Training Solutions) for several years and have continued to be impressed by her professionalism. Ghislaine communicates well, from the initial joining instructions right through to the course results, which have always been excellent. Our colleagues talk favourably about Ghislaine's teaching methods and how much they enjoy her courses which take place in a pleasant, relaxed environment.

Linda Masterman
Academy Training Manager
Southern Coop

GH Training Solutions
5.0.0
2019-04-01T18:05:56+01:00

Linda Masterman
Academy Training Manager
Southern Coop

At Southern Co-op, we have worked with Ghislaine (GH Training Solutions) for several years and have continued to be impressed by her professionalism. Ghislaine communicates well, from the initial joining instructions right through to the course results, which have always been excellent. Our colleagues talk favourably about Ghislaine's teaching methods and how much they enjoy her courses which take place in a pleasant, relaxed environment.
FB-AVAK have used GH Training Solutions several times in the past year, and have always found the courses to be interesting and informative. Ghislaine has a way of making courses fun, even when the subject matter (Health & Safety) can occasionally be a bit dry.

I would highly recommend GH Training Solutions for any business looking for staff training.

Phillip Harben

GH Training Solutions
5.0.0
2018-07-02T15:01:47+01:00

Phillip Harben

FB-AVAK have used GH Training Solutions several times in the past year, and have always found the courses to be interesting and informative. Ghislaine has a way of making courses fun, even when the subject matter (Health & Safety) can occasionally be a bit dry.
We use GH Training Solutions for our food safety training whether it be level 2 food safety right up to level 4, the training is informative yet enjoyable. The flexibility shown by Ghislaine also helps, as the environment we work in can change on the flip of a coin.

I would happily recommend GH training solutions to anybody.

 

Callum Lane - Medirest

GH Training Solutions
5.0.0
2024-07-17T11:33:50+01:00

Callum Lane - Medirest

We use GH Training Solutions for our food safety training whether it be level 2 food safety right up to level 4, the training is informative yet enjoyable. The flexibility shown by Ghislaine also helps, as the environment we work in can change on the flip of a coin. I would happily recommend GH training solutions to anybody.
10
5
Do you have a question? Need advice or not sure where to start?
All courses are accredited by Highfield, one of the UK's leading awarding bodies for vocational qualifications and work based learning