Everyone running a food business is legally required to have an approved written food safety management system in place to comply with the law and to help ensure food is safe for customers to eat.

It’s recommended that the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is used to help food business operators assess how they handle food and introduce procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat.

It is a legal requirement to write down your hazard analysis to show you have identified and controlled hazards. The level of documentation required will depend on the nature and size of your business.

Enforcement officers in routine inspections, annual audits and unannounced visits will check and assess the hazard analysis.

If found lacking they can take action to reduce the Food Hygiene Rating of the business, serve hygiene improvement notices or close the premises immediately (formally or by voluntary agreement). Last year Wahaca faced a number of temporary closures when it experienced an outbreak of the Norovirus.

In serious situations the business owners can be cautioned or prosecuted leading to six figure fines.

It’s clear from the disciplinary actions if not the reputational damage that food safety and hygiene must not be taken lightly. If in doubt, we recommend having your practices and procedures reviewed to ensure compliance.