What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is where the body’s immune system mistakenly thinks that the proteins in certain foods are a threat. As a defence mechanism, chemicals are released in an attempt to fight off this threat, and it is how the body reacts to the release of these chemicals that creates the symptoms associated with food allergies.

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Allergens – What are the 14 main allergens?

Allergies can be life-threatening. Most people are aware of potential reactions to peanuts, but for a long time, the public was generally unaware of allergens within other foods.

In July 2016, a teenager suffered a fatal reaction to sesame in a baguette bought at a national chain. 

In the Uk, the Food Information Regulations act was introduced to ensure that the correct labelling of ingredients in Pre-Packaged foods included all 14 main allergens.

Unfortunately, freshly handmade, non pre-packaged food does not have to be individually labelled.

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5 Critical Elements of Effective Employee Management

Your employees are the core of your small business. Careful employee management is key to making sure you get the most out of them. They may be skilled individually, but if led poorly, they’ll never perform at their best. Here are a few things you and your managers can do to lead employees to greatness. Continue reading “5 Critical Elements of Effective Employee Management”

Is My Basic Food Hygiene Certificate Valid?

Is My Basic Food Hygiene Certificate Valid?

In 2006, in response to a change in European Law, the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate, which had previously only been a level one qualification, was updated and expanded.  The change in EU law made it mandatory for all UK premises where food was handled to have in place a ‘Food Safety Management System’.  This meant industry-wide changes to all existing food handling guidelines. Due to the scope of the changes it was feared that the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate was simply too basic to cope with the new more complex food safety law.

To ensure that all staff continued to operate safely, in addition to being a safeguard against court cases related to food poisoning as a result of a lack of due diligence, the course was expanded to include three levels of accreditation.  The course has been split into three sectors, according to the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Food Safety, ensuring that all staff receive training relevant to their work sector, that being either manufacturing, catering or retail. Continue reading “Is My Basic Food Hygiene Certificate Valid?”

Food Safety In Restaurants

You are what you eat. Everyone loves food, in whatever way it comes, we all need food and crave it. First, comes the hunger, the imagination of the desired meal, the anticipation of the meal, the sight, the colours, the texture, the aromas, and then the climax of that first taste.


Eating is one experience to be enjoyed and savoured as much as it is a necessity for sustenance. The importance of food can never be overemphasized.


The preparation of food in itself is the perfect combination of art and science. From the picking of the ingredients; getting the right size and texture of food to be cooked is as important to a chef as his cooking pots.


But what happens when after all this time and effort put into the preparation and presentation of food, instead of the bliss, satisfaction and appreciation from a well-prepared meal, what is gotten as the chef’s reward is pain, fear, disease and death?


Food safety is an issue that can never be ignored, whether by a world class chef, a hot-dog vendor or a mother making a quick sandwich for lunch. Even the minutest detail overlooked, could result in a life-threatening crisis.


So how do we make sure our food is good for us? For home cooked meals, it’s quite easy to decide what to eat, how to prepare it and whatever sanitary conditions govern the preparation of a meal. Even better, the cook knows the likes, dislikes, health requirements and allergies of their diners.


But when relying on other people to prepare your food, it’s a great responsibility on the chef and cooks to give the best quality of food possible. That’s why health codes exist to govern the preparation of food for public consumption.


Sanitary conditions, allergies, presentation, are all key in consideration of food safety for groups of people. Health conditions are more varied, and nutritional requirements are wider.


As a restaurant owner or chef, every day, with the preparation of every drink, every snack, and every meal: the life of tens, hundreds or thousands of people is being entrusted into your hands. All the people who order take-out from you, get drinks at your bar, grab a quick bite, or have a full course dinner are trusting you to take care of them. Their expectations, their allergies, the safety of their stomachs, their families their friends is entrusted to you. This is a responsibility that should be taken with the utmost seriousness and dedication.


Therefore, the conditions of your kitchen; your staff, your utensils, the cleanliness and quality of your food, and the reliability of their sources must never be compromised. And that is why, every day, food safety in your restaurant has to remain a top priority.


Food safety is more than just a health code requirement; it’s about the preservation of your craft and the life of your client. The processes involved in the preparation of your food are equally as important in defining the food safety conditions in your kitchen. A bad combination of food could be just as deadly even if prepared in utmost sanitary conditions.

TutorCare offer a wide range of Food Safety Training courses.  From Food Safety Awareness to Allergen Awareness and CIEH / HABC certified courses, TutorCare offers options for those requiring training inhouse or over the web.  Certified courses include; CIEH Level 1 food safety courseCIEH Level 2 food safety courseCIEH Level 3 food safety courseCIEH Level 4 food safety course as well as the CIEH Food Safety Train the Trainer course.


Healthy eating training for caterers

Healthy eating is a bigger issue these days than ever before, as the government takes new measures to battle ill health and death caused by poor diets, unhealthy eating habits and obesity.

In addition to standard food safety training, catering firms and their workers should also ensure that they consider arranging more specialised training on healthy eating. This is particularly relevant for firms which supply food to educational facilities or to the health and social care sector.

Attaining such a qualification as the CIEH Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets will help employees who have a say in the selection of menus, recipes and ingredients to make the right choices for the people to whom they provide meals to.

On this particular food training course, participants will learn about:

-The basic principles and terminology of nutrition
-The requirements of a balanced diet
-The positive effects a healthy diet can have on health
-Current legislation and the requirements it imposes on food providers
-How different groups of people with different lifestyles have different dietary needs
-Allergies and food intolerances
-The importance of providing accurate nutritional information on products and product packaging

Hospital catering service scores food hygiene award

The catering service at West Suffolk Hospital has been honoured with a five-star award for food hygiene after inspectors visited earlier this month.

The inspection, which was undertaken by officers from St Edmundsbury Borough Council, covered all aspects of food service within the hospital. This included the Courtyard Cafe, which is open to the public, as well as in-patient meals and the Time Out restaurant, which is where hospital staff eat their meals.

The visit ran smoothly and as a result, the hospital’s catering staff were rewarded for their efforts and exemplary food hygiene training with a five-star award. This is part of the Scores on the Doors scheme, a national programme used to evaluate food-serving premises and make the information available to the public.
The award represents a great achievement for the hospital, as it received just four stars in May 2010.

A delighted catering manager Veronica Hall commented on the hospital’s five-star success, saying:

“It reflects the importance that we place on all aspects of hygiene and safety and is a testament to the diligence shown by our staff around cleanliness and food management,”

Learning the basics of food safety

You will never be able to progress in a career in a catering or hospitality industry, or indeed any that involves preparing or serving food, unless you are trained in the basics of food safety. In fact, in a lot of businesses and organisations, a basic food hygiene qualification is a crucial entry requirement.

Food safety training is important because it teaches you how to safely prepare, store, cook and serve food to members of the public. It also offers valuable guidance on how to keep the environment you work in clean, hygienic and non-hazardous.

You have a responsibility to ensure that any edible goods you provide are safe to consume and of the very best quality possible, in order to protect public health and uphold the reputation of your company or organisation.

So, what do you need to know in order to start a career in the food industry? On a course such as the CIEH Level 1 Awards in Food Safety, you will get a basic but important introduction to food safety. You will learn about:

– Food safety hazards
– Your responsibilities with regards to food hygiene
– Cleaning
– Avoiding contamination
– Personal hygiene

Eight Northern hospitals breaching food safety rules

Following an investigation by health watchdogs, it was found that 8 of the 19 main hospitals in the North of the country had breached food safety regulations.

During visits to the hospitals between July 2010 and March 2011, inspectors found a total of 66 breaches of the Food Safety Act. These breaches were unearthed at 8 hospitals, some of which continued to rate highly on the Scores on the Doors food safety scheme.

The main problems included:

– Dirty floors
– Poor structural standards, including dampness and flaking paint on walls
– Damaged or unsuitable equipment (i.e. chopping boards, bins)
– Out-of-date food being stored

A number of issues uncovered at the under-performing hospitals could have been caused by low standards of food hygiene training amongst staff, but the problem could also be coming from management failing to properly implement food safety policy.

A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said:

“We can’t comment specifically about the Trusts in question as we do not know about the particular legal requirements that are being breached. However, food safety is very important for all food businesses including hospitals serving food.

It isn’t all bad news, however, as the majority of hospitals inspected had no problems with food safety and scored well in recent inspections.

279 Trafford food businesses fail food hygiene tests

A worrying number of food safety businesses in the Greater Manchester borough of Trafford have fallen below the standards set out by the newly-introduced Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

The food rating scheme was launched by Trafford metropolitan borough council just a few days ago after it was introduced in other areas, but it is already clear that a significant number of local businesses are not living up to their food hygiene responsibilities.

Whilst 241 food outlets passed the scheme with flying colours, as many as 279 were found to be below par. Of these, ten were considered to be urgent cases, the rest being classified as in need of major improvement.

Trafford council is expected to work with local businesses, offering guidance and support, to improve standards, and officials are likely to recommend more advanced food hygiene training for employees. Peter Molyneaux, who is the corporate director of environment, transport and operations for Trafford council, said:

“I am confident by continuing to work with our local food businesses, we will not only see improved Food Standards Agency food hygiene ratings but also an improved customer experience,”