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.

Continue reading “What is a food allergy?”

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.


Social media helps Public Health England in food poisoning investigation

Twitter and Facebook aided investigators from PHE (Public Health England) in an investigation into the cause of an outbreak of food poisoning at the Street Spice Festival in Newcastle Upon Tyne last year. The street festival took place between 28th February and 2nd March 2013 and investigators used the social media sites to identify individuals who were showing symptoms of food poisoning in the area.

Through the help of social media PHE investigators managed to connect the sufferers with a coconut chutney that had been available at the festival and found that it was made using contaminated curry leaves.

The team managed to trace the outbreak back to those particular leaves because the identified source of the infection, Salmonella Agona, is a strain that hasn’t been seen in Britain before and is strongly associated with raw curry leaves.

A consultant in health protection, Dr Kirsty Foster said:

“In this case we were very fortunate in that there were some left over leaves from the event”.

The curry leaves were imported to the UK from Pakistan before the event.