Who is Responsible for Food Safety in the UK? 

food safety in UK

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for food safety and food hygiene in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The FSA, alongside local authorities, enforce food safety regulations.

Environmental Health Service

If you sell, provide or handle food as part of your business, you need to register with the environmental health service, at least 28 days before opening. This includes businesses such as the obvious – restaurants, cafes, takeaways. But also – shops, B&Bs, temporary businesses, mobile careering, food distributors, food manufacturing, food stalls. And less obviously – nurseries, schools and care homes. 

Once registered, your local authority will advise you on safety requirements and how inspections will work. You can also find helpful information in the ‘Safe Catering Pack’, a food safety management guide from the FSA. 

Four Cs of food hygiene and safety

Providing food incorrectly can have very harmful consequences. It is your responsibility to make sure the food you prepare is not harmful to health and unfit to eat. An easy to remember way to think about this is the four Cs:

Cleaning – This is vitally important. Your food storage and preparation areas – and any surfaces and utensils which come into contact with food – must be regularly cleaned and disinfected. You must also make sure you and any other staff wash hands thoroughly and regularly.

Cooking – All cooked food must be hot and thoroughly cooked. Meats should not be served pink in the middle, and juices should run clear when pierced with a knife. To prevent the growth of bacteria when cooked, food must be kept covered and kept hot (above 63°C).

Chilling – It is essential to let food cool before putting it into a fridge or freezer. Putting hot food into a fridge or freezer can affect the temperature, and impact on the other stored foods.

Cross-contamination – Raw and cooked food should never be handled together. Chopping boards and utensils must be clearly marked for use with either raw and ready to eat foods. Always wash hands after handling raw foods and before touching other foods and utensils.

Your food hygiene responsibilities

If you are the owner or manager of the business, you are responsible for monitoring all aspects of hygiene and safety levels, including:

  • kitchen surfaces and equipment
  • refrigerators
  • dining areas
  • delivery vehicles
  • waste disposal
  • toilets
  • hand washing facilities

Your staff and training responsibilities

Any person who handles food in your business must receive training in food hygiene.Training should cover:

  • HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
  • cooking
  • temperature control
  • cross contamination
  • cleaning and disinfection
  • personal hygiene
  • pest control
  • allergy awareness

The type and level of training will depend entirely on what type of business you run. 

Supplier food hygiene

Whilst you have control over food hygiene in your business, you cannot control what has happened to food before it reaches you. Your suppliers should be:

  • registered with their district council
  • have a clear and correct food safety management system
  • store, transport and pack their goods in a hygienic way

It is also essential that you ask and are provided with clear and thorough allergenic ingredients. 

Food descriptions

Under European Regulations, you must provide accurate descriptions of your food. This refers to menus and labelling. It is essential you provide accurate allergen information, or state clearly if you are unable to. 

Keep records

Accurate records will help you comply with your legal requirements. You need to be able to show, quickly and easily that you understand and are adhering to food hygiene standards.

Engage in Learning Training

Engage in Learning provide interactive Health and Safety courses, with engaging scenarios, memorable graphics. They include a wide variety of interaction types combined with high quality information design keeps learners engaged.

Our Level 2 Food Safety online training course provides learners with the knowledge and understanding to identify and control food safety hazards and emphasises the responsibility of everyone in a catering environment.

Our Food Safety course can be found here