Food Safety Tips

Food that goes in the fridge

Some food needs to be kept in the fridge to help stop bacteria from growing on it, such as food with a ‘use by’ date, cooked food and ready-to-eat food such as desserts and cooked meats.

Make sure your fridge is cold enough

You need to make sure your fridge is cold enough otherwise food poisoning bacteria will still be able to grow. Your fridge should be between 0ºC and 5ºC.

Here are a few other fridge tips that you might find useful:

  • keep the fridge door closed as much as possible
  • wait for food to cool down before you put it in the fridge
  • if your fridge is full, turn the temperature down to help keep it cold enough

Keeping food in the fridge

To help stop bacteria from growing, remember:

  • When the label says ‘keep refrigerated’, make sure you do keep the food in the fridge. If the food isn’t labelled with any storage instructions and it’s a type of food that goes off quickly, you should put it in the fridge and eat it within two days.
  • Some jars and bottles need to be kept in the fridge once they’ve been opened. Always check the label and follow any storage instructions.
  • When you’re preparing food, keep it out of the fridge for the shortest time possible, especially when the weather (or the room) is warm.
  • If you have made some food (such as a sandwich or a cold dish) and you’re not going to eat it straight away, keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it.
  • If you’re having a party or making a buffet, leave the food in the fridge until people are ready to eat. Generally, you shouldn’t leave food out of the fridge for more than four hours.
  • Cool leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within one to two hours) and then store them in the fridge. Eat any leftovers within two days, except for cooked rice, which you should eat within one day to help avoid food poisoning.

It’s almost that time of year again

Leftover turkey

It’s very important to keep cooked meat and poultry in the fridge. If they are left out at room temperature, food poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply. So, after  you have carved your turkey (or other bird), cool any leftovers as quickly as possible (within one to two hours), cover them and put them in the fridge.

When you’re serving cold turkey, try to take out only as much as you’re going to use and leave the rest in the fridge. Don’t leave a plate of turkey or cold meats out all day. Put it back in the fridge as soon as you can, ideally within an hour.

If you’re reheating leftover turkey, or other food, always make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through before you eat it. And don’t reheat more than once. Ideally, try to use leftovers within 48 hours.

Food safety training: how it can help you to get ahead

In most industries, two things are true you can never do too much training, and the right training can really help you to get ahead. This also applies to careers in the food and catering industry, where the proper qualifications are everything.

Whilst entry level jobs in the food industry do not generally require many qualifications, you will often find that employees that are higher up in the company they work for are in possession of a raft of food hygiene and food safety certificates.

If you work within the food industry and are looking to take that extra step up the career ladder, it can really make sense to embark on a training course. The principal qualifications that employers are looking for in order to meet strict health and safety regulations within the industry are food safety certificates.

There are four different levels of food safety training you can choose from, depending of course on which level you are currently at and how you want to progress in your career. These courses generally range in length from half-day sessions to five-day programmes, all containing a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical, hands-on training. You can find list of topics covered on course at

It is important to remember that the course you undertake should be approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) before it can be considered valid.

Greggs fined £50,000 for serious fire safety breaches

Bakers chain Greggs has reportedly been fined more than £50,000 at Isleworth Crown Court in London after a number of serious fire safety breaches were discovered at one of its outlets.

The company was prosecuted by the London Fire Brigade after investigators auditing a Greggs shop in Brentford in 2008 uncovered a number of potentially dangerous problems. Fire safety officers found:

  • Corridors and fire escape exits at least partially obstructed by plastic crates
  • A fire exit locked with four strong padlocks, therefore making it difficult to escape quickly in an emergency
  • A locked security door near to the fire exit

Greggs reportedly received a letter from the London Fire Brigade in January 2009, informing bosses that a review of the company’s fire risk assessments and emergency plans were needed. Also recommended was that the company reviews its policies on appropriate fire safety training for staff.

After pleading guilty to two breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Greggs has now been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £20,326.

Councillor Brian Coleman, the chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, commented on the case, saying:

“In these tough economic times it is important that companies do not take their eye off the ball when it comes to making their business safe from fire.”

Care home operator fined for training failures which led to patient death

The operator of a Grimsby nursing home has been fined a total of £80,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it was found that care training failures led to the death of a patient.

The incident at the Old Vicarage nursing home in Stallingborough took place back in October 2004 and involved patient Anthony Pinder, 42, who suffered from behavioural and learning issues. In what was described as difficult circumstances, Mr Pinder was physically restrained for a total of 90 minutes by care staff before going back to his room. Tragically, he was found dead a short time later.

At Leeds Crown Court recently, it was found that Health and Care Services (UK) Limited, who owned the care home, were at least partly liable for Mr Pinder’s death due to serious failures in care training. The staff themselves were not blamed, as they were simply doing what they felt was necessary in the situation.

However, it was ruled that management had a responsibility to ensure staff received proper care training, especially with regards to physical restraint of patients. The measures used in Mr Pinder’s case were described as “poor, inappropriate and dangerous”. The court also heard that the operator had been strongly advised by the Commission for Social Care Inspectorate to improve safe restraint training a mere five months before Mr Pinder’s death.

Health and Care Services (UK) Limited was fined a total of £80,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £40,823.

Fire prevention advice for businesses

All businesses and organisations in the UK are legally obliged to adhere to certain rules and regulations regarding fire safety, as well as general health and safety.

It is incredibly important to protect your staff, your building and its contents and your local community from the devastating effects of fire. This means you need to implement a few essential fire prevention measures.

Fire risk assessment

This is the first and most important fire prevention measure you can take. It involves scouring the property from top to bottom to identify potential fire hazards, as well as assessing who is at the most risk in an emergency and how effective existing fire prevention measures are.

Fire training and the  responsible person

Every workplace or building should have a responsible person, someone who is in charge of fire safety and knows exactly what to do in an emergency. This person is also responsible for undertaking the fire risk assessment (see above).

It makes sense then that the responsible person should be someone who is fully trained on fire safety and prevention. This is why many companies choose to send their designated fire marshal on a fire training course, the level of which will be determined by previous training and the level of hazard at your particular workplace.

Bristol employer jailed for health and safety breach in fireworks accident

A fireworks display organiser from Mangotsfield in Bristol has been sent to jail after failing to pay compensation to an employee who was blinded in one eye in a fireworks accident.

Jason Edgecombe, 30, from JWP Fireworks was ordered to pay former employee Chris Hignell, 53, a total of £5,000 in compensation after it was found that he breached health and safety regulations at a fireworks show which resulted in horrific injuries to Mr Hignell. A professional grade mortar exploded in Mr Hignell’s face during the display, causing him to be blinded in one eye.

Mr Edgecombe reportedly failed to pay Mr Hignell a £200 instalment of the compensation by a certain time, resulting in a demand being issued for the full amount. Last Wednesday 29th December, Bristol Magistrates Court sentenced Mr Edgecombe to 88 days in jail for failing to pay the compensation amount. He has also been banned from working at, or organising, any firework displays in the future, which effectively ends his role in the business.

This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring adequate health and safety training and risk assessment is undertaken for all kinds of activity, especially high-risk ones such as firework displays.

Care training: what are the Common Induction Standards?

If you are considering a career in social care, or you want to advance in an existing career with the help of care training, you need to be aware of the Common Induction Standards.

The Common Induction Standards (CIS) are incredibly important; they are the principles by which the sector operates and all care training courses must abide. Launched by the employer-led independent charity and organisation Skills for Care, the CIS have been updated recently. The CEO of Skills for Care, Andrea Rowe, explains why:

“The Common Induction Standards have proved to be incredibly popular with employers and employees but the new standards are designed to be fit for purpose reflecting the very latest policy and practice as our sector continues to evolve,”

“We know how vital good induction is to making sure people have the right start in their adult social care careers and we are confident the refreshed Common Induction Standards will support employers who are committed to developing the skills and knowledge of their staff from day one.”

In brief, the updated CIS encompass the following standards:

1. Role of the health and social care worker
2. Personal development
3. Effective communication
4. Inclusion and equality
5. Principles for implementing duty of care
6. Principles of safeguarding in health and social care
7. Person-centred support
8. Health and safety in an adult social care setting

HSE issues New Year message to safety-conscious employers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has started 2011 with a New Year message for employers up and down the country, urging them to make health and safety a real priority in the year to come.

Despite the fact that the figures for work-related deaths are at a record low at present, the HSE has warned employers not to be complacent when it comes to health and safety training and implementing preventative measures.

The regional director for the HSE in the South West, Terry Rose, advised:

“Employers cannot be complacent; they must stay vigilant and learn the lessons from the past to ensure they protect their workers in the future,”

“Putting in place simple, straightforward health and safety measures can save lives. It is not good for companies or their workers if they are off through an injury or ill-health.”

The HSE has issued region-specific alerts about this issue to all main UK counties, highlighting how many employees were injured or even killed in accidents in each area last year. On a national scale, it has been revealed that 152 employees lost their lives in the workplace in 2009/10, and 121,430 employee injuries were reported to the HSE.

St. Albans gastro-pub fined for food hygiene breaches

A gastro-pub in St. Albans has reportedly been fined over £10,000 for food hygiene and health and safety breaches, after failing to take action on advice issued by environmental health offices.

The owners of The Cock, a popular establishment located on the corner of Hatfield Road and St. Peter’s Street in St. Albans, were found guilty at Watford Magistrates Court of four offences relating to food hygiene. It is not clear whether these related to improper food hygiene training or other legislation breaches, but the charges resulted in a £5,000 fine.

The pub was also fined a further £5,000 for health and safety breaches, as well as being ordered to pay £1,792 in court costs and a victim surcharge. These fines were actually a third of what District Council Environmental Health prosecutors asked for, being reduced because The Cock’s owners pleaded guilty, had no previous convictions and also sought help from food safety specialists in getting the business up to standard.

Speaking of the case, Councillor Chris Oxley said:

“St Albans is proud of the fact that for centuries we have been a destinationâ centre for visitors from all over the world. We pride ourselves in having some wonderful eating establishments.

Under no circumstances will we allow our top class reputation to be tarnished by establishments that abuse food hygiene and associated legislation.”

Glossop manufacturer prosecuted by HSE over employee death

A packaging manufacturer from Glossop in Derbyshire has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and fined a total of £50,000 after an employee was killed in a workplace accident.

The incident occurred at the Glossop Carton and Print Ltd factory in September 2006, when 50-year-old employee Clive Hall was carrying out maintenance work to a piece of machinery. The machine was switched on by the operator whilst Mr Hall who had only been employed at the company for two months – was still inside, causing him to suffer fatal head injuries. He was killed instantly.

Following the incident and an investigation into Mr Hall’s death, the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the owners of the Padfield packaging manufacturing plant. The company was found to have put workers at risk by breaching two sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), and was fined £50,000 plus £76,150 in court costs.

Speaking of the importance of implementing the right health and safety training in every workplace, investigating HSE inspector Eddy Tarn said:

“Both machine operators and maintenance workers should be given adequate training. If a simple procedure for cutting the power supply to the machine had been followed then Mr Hall’s death could have been avoided.”