The Food Safety Act 1990 clearly sets out the regulations that govern food hygiene standards in the U.K. and local council environmental health teams are employed to ensure that food outlets comply with these standards in the interest of both customers and employees.
Food Safety Management programmes and food safety training are essential for all businesses operating in the food industry, and a failure to ensure that standards are maintained can incur serious penalties that can prove very detrimental to a company’s chances of survival.
So, what can happen if an inspection reveals breaches of food hygiene standards?
• If breaches are discovered during an inspection, an Improvement Notice will be issued which will set out the improvements that are necessary as well as the time-frame in which they are to be achieved. These notices place businesses under a legal obligation to act.
• If inspectors consider processes, equipment or premises to pose an imminent risk to the health and safety of employees or consumers, an Emergency Hygiene Prohibition Notice will be served. This can close businesses down with immediate effect.
• Serious breaches of standards or repeated failures to act on the advice of inspectors can result in prosecution. Fines can be significant and the knock-on effects of exposure can be catastrophic for the businesses involved.