Food hygiene and safety legislation is intended to make sure that food is stored, prepared, handled, distributed and sold in a hygienic manner.
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Food hygiene and food safety law
The Food Safety Act establishes certain powers for food inspectors. For example, the power to inspect food and where necessary seize and detain any suspect foods.
These regulations require food business operators to comply with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002.
Article 14 - Food Safety Requirements
Food should not be sold or offered for sale if it contains harmful substances, such as high levels of heavy metal, or is contaminated so that it would be unreasonable to expect the consumer to eat it in that particular state.
Article 18 - Traceability
Food businesses should be able to demonstrate where they have purchased foods and ingredients from and who they have supplied food to.
This involves keeping records from food suppliers, such as invoices, to show where food has come from. Receipts will show what foods have been sold.
Article 19 - Product withdrawal and recall
Where a food business has produced and/or distributed food which it considers to be "unsafe" it must immediately attempt to withdraw that food from circulation. Where products may have reached the consumer, the business should inform the consumers of the reason for the withdrawal and, if necessary, recall from the consumers products already supplied.
These regulations require food business operators to comply with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs.
The general and specific hygiene requirements for food businesses covers the following topics;
- Design/construction and layout of food premises
- Structural condition and maintenance of food premises
- Provision of sinks, for washing food and washing equipment and hand washbasins with hot and cold running water
- Provision of adequate drainage
- Provision of ventilation
- Provision of adequate lighting
- Provision of toilets and lobbies
- Cleanliness of food premises
- Training of food handlers
- Protecting food from a risk of contamination
- Pest control arrangements
- Personal hygiene of food handlers
- Condition and maintenance of equipment
- Provision of potable water
- Arrangements for disposing of food wastes
Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
Food businesses have to operate a food safety management system based on the HACCP principles, which seek to:
- Identify any hazards that must be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels;
- Identify the critical control points at the steps at which control is essential to prevent or eliminate a hazard or to reduce it to acceptable levels;
- Establish critical limits at critical control points which separate acceptability from unacceptability for the prevention, elimination or reduction of identified hazards;
- Establish and implement effective monitoring procedures at critical control points;
- Establish corrective actions when monitoring indicates that a critical control point is not under control;
- Establish procedures which shall be carried out regularly to verify that the measures from one to five above are working effectively;
- Establish documents and records to demonstrate the effective application of the measures from one to six above.
Registration and approval
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