If you have any sort of business which involves food, hygiene should of the utmost importance. In fact, hygiene is integral to not only ensuring that you and your customers are kept safe but also the overall success of your business.
For people who are working with food – whether it is preparing, storing, serving or selling, ensuring that you have the highest hygiene standards is absolutely essential for a number of reasons, all of which play a major part in how successful your business is.
It is important not only that you maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the place where food is being prepared and stored, but also that you look after your food and ingredients before and after it is made – for example, using vacuum packing machines and the correct refrigeration.
The most important reason why it is important to put hygiene in front of everything else in a catering business is to ensure the safety of both your employees and your customers. Ensuring that your employees and customers are safe whilst carrying out their job or when they are close to or consume your products is central to the success of your business.
Getting a reputation for not putting hygiene and safety at the forefront of your business can be extremely damaging. Cross-contamination is a very serious problem and one which can be potentially life–threatening. It can also happen very easily if you are not meticulous about your hygiene, and the consequences of allowing it to happen can also be threatening to your business.
It is a well-known concept in business that in terms of return of investment (ROI) it is much easier to get customers who keep coming back to you instead of trying to get new customers all of the time. You won’t be able to get repeat customers, however, unless you produce good quality products which taste great and are safe to eat – in other words – that are produced and stored hygienically.
It is important to keep your business within the law – whether that means keeping up hygiene standards or getting your tax return in on time. Businesses are required by law to ensure that your food is safe, and must comply with the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013 if you are in England.
If you are serving or supplying food, you will have an inspection and be given a Food Hygiene Rating. If you are in Wales or Northern Ireland you must display your Food Hygiene Rating for the public to see, but although in England and Scotland displaying it is optional, it is beneficial to your business to show off your great Food Hygiene Rating.
If you don’t comply with these rules, you could find that you first put people’s safety into jeopardy and secondly your own business by not taking safety and hygiene seriously and breaking the law.
For businesses who are preparing food, it is important that you are organised about labelling and looking after your food and ingredients. If food isn’t stored properly there is a high chance that it could go off, get dirty, be involved with cross-contamination or other unhygienic occurrences which will lead to the wastage of food.
By being organised and hygienic you can ensure that you don’t need to waste food by either having to throw it away before you have used it or by those selling or serving it. Reducing wastage is not only better for the environment but can also be a major factor in the success of your business.
To be able to make sure that hygiene is a priority for any food business, there are a few factors that should be considered:
- The “4 C’s” – Cleaning, Cooking, Chilling, Cross-Contamination
- The effective storage of food – labelling, vacuum packing, keeping things in the refrigerator or freezer, for example
- The effective and hygienic transportation of food and ingredients
- Ensuring that staff are trained properly
- Personal hygiene of those who are handling the food
The main risks when it comes to food hygiene are the chances of cross-contamination and food poisoning – both of which can have devastating consequences for your customers – and, therefore, your business. However, with good hygiene, you can drastically reduce the risks of these.
In truth, hygiene should be the most important focus for your business. Unhygienically produced food doesn’t ever taste better and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be the priority for you, your staff and your business as a whole.