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The information in the archive was published by MAFF, Department of Health and the Scottish Executive before April 1st 2000 when the Food Standards Agency was established.

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GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESS ON REGULATIONS

A guide to the
General Food Hygiene Regulations

1995 Food Safety

This guidance introduces you to the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995. It tells you what they are and how you can put them into practice. At the end of this guidance is a summary of the most important points.

This information is only advisory. Individual food businesses responsible for checking how the Regulations apply in practice to them.

If you need further advice, ask the Environmental Health Services of your local council.

CONTENTS:
A Guide to the general food hygiene regulations

What are the Regulations?

The Regulations came into force on 15 September 1995. They aim to ensure common food hygiene rules across the European Community, as set out in the Food Hygiene Directive (93/43/EEC)

Details of how to obtain both the Regulations and the Directive are given at the end of this guidance.

Who is affected?

Anyone who owns, manages or works in a food business - apart from those working in primary food production such as harvesting, slaughtering or milking - is affected by these Regulations. They apply to anything from a hot dog van to a five-star restaurant, from a village hall where food is prepared to a large supermarket, or to a vending machine.

This is true whether you sell publicly or privately, in a hotel or in a marquee, for profit or for fund-raising. The Regulations do not apply to food cooked at home for private consumption. Every process which deals with preparing or selling food can be classed as a food business activity, including:


Preparation
handling
processing
packaging
manufacturing
storage
transportation
selling
distribution
supplying

Generally, anyone who handles food, or whose actions could affect its safety, must follow the Regulations. This includes people who sell food (whether to retailers or to the public) and anyone who cleans articles or equipment which come into contact with food.

Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


What do they cover?

The Regulations apply to all types of food and drink and their ingredients. But some businesses - generally manufacturers of products of animal origin, such as dairies or wholesale fish markets - follow their own product specific regulations. These regulations are listed below.

Identifying and controlling food hazards

As the proprietor of a food business, you must:

  • make sure food is supplied or sold in a hygienic way;
  • identify food safety hazards;
  • know which steps in your activities are critical for food safety;
  • ensure safety controls are in place, maintained and reviewed.

Controls do not have to be complex. There are systems that can be used by food businesses to ensure that hazards are identified and controls are in place. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is one of a number of such systems. For more information see Food Hazards and your Business .

Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Basic hygiene requirements

The Regulations aim to set out basic hygiene principles, which are generally not new. But their emphasis is different from previous regulations. They focus more strongly on how to identify and control food safety risks at each stage of the process of preparing and selling food.

Rather than simply following a list of rules, the Regulations let you assess the risk to food safety and then apply controls relevant to your own situation. Not all the requirements for the structure and equipment of food premises will apply to you. Some are followed by the words "where appropriate" or "where necessary". For example, one provision states that, "where appropriate" floors must allow surface drainage. But where you have a system to ensure water does not build up, so that there is no risk to food safety, actual floor drains may not be necessary. So there is no absolute requirement to have them.


Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Basic requirements for food businesses

Food premises should:

  • be clean and maintained in good repair;
  • be designed and constructed to permit good hygiene practices;
  • have an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water;
  • have suitable controls in place to protect against pests;
  • have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting;
  • have sufficient natural and/or mechanical ventilation;
  • provide clean lavatories which do not lead directly into food rooms;
  • have adequate hand washing facilities;
  • be provided with adequate drainage.


Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed should generally have surface finishes which are easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect. This would, for instance, apply to wall, floor and equipment finishes. The rooms should also have:

  • adequate facilities for washing food and equipment;
  • adequate facilities for the storage and removal of food waste.

Of course, many of the Regulations are basic minimum hygiene standards which apply to every food business. But how they are applied still depends on the situation. For example, every food premises must be kept clean. But how they are cleaned, and how often, will be different for a manufacturer of ready-to-eat meals than for a bakery selling bread.

Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Supplies of raw materials

Do not buy or supply any raw materials if you think that even after sorting or processing they could make food unfit for human consumption. Any material which you suspect or know to be infected or contaminated with parasites or foreign substances to this extent should be rejected.

Quality of Water in food

There must be an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water, to be used whenever necessary to ensure food is not contaminated. In the vast majority of cases, this is supplied via the public water supply. But if there is any doubt about the quality of a water supply, you should seek advice from your local council Environmental Health Services.

Personal hygiene for food handlers

Anyone who works in a food handling area must maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness. And the way in which they work must also be clean and hygienic. Food handlers must wear clean and, where appropriate, protective over-clothes. Anyone whose work involves handling food should:

  • observe good personal hygiene;
  • routinely wash their hands when handling food;
  • never smoke in food handling areas;
  • report any illness (like infected wounds, skin infections, diarrhoea or vomiting) to their manager or supervisor immediately.

If any employee reports that they are suffering from any such illness, the business may have to exclude them from food handling areas. Such action should be taken urgently. If you have any doubt about the need to exclude, you should seek urgent medical advice or consult your local council Environmental Health Services.

Preventing food contamination

Food handlers must protect food and ingredients against contamination which is likely to render them unfit for human consumption or a health hazard. For example, uncooked poultry should not contaminate ready-to-eat foods, either through direct contact or through work surfaces or equipment.

Training and supervising food handlers

Food handlers must receive adequate supervision, instruction and/or training in food hygiene. Each food business must decide what training or supervision their food handlers need by identifying the areas of their work most likely to affect food hygiene. Useful guidance may be found in relevant Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice.

Temporary and occasional food businesses

Many of the guidelines in this guidance apply equally to food businesses trading from temporary or occasional locations like marquees or stalls. But because not all of them will be practical, there are also some slightly different requirements. However, wherever food is sold, two basic rules always apply:

  • there should be adequate facilities to prepare and serve food safely; and
  • food handling procedures should avoid exposing food to risk of any contamination.

Industry guides to good hygiene practice

The Regulations introduce a new concept of voluntary industry guides to good hygiene practice. These provide more detailed guidance on complying with the Regulations as they relate to specific sectors e.g. catering, vending. They are usually produced by trade associations and recognised by the Department of Health for submission to the European Commission. (Advice on drawing up an Industry Guide is available in A template: Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice .

EC-wide Industry Guides may also be published in the EC Official Journal to provide further advice on achieving the requirements of the Regulations. Although these Guides will not be legally binding like the Regulations, they will help you assess how well you are following the Regulations and provide invaluable advice on food safety. Importantly, enforcement officers will refer to them when examining how businesses are operating.

Further information

For further advice about the Regulations, contact the Environmental Health Services of your local council. Remember, you must apply to register any new food premises (or change in the ownership of a food business) with local council Environmental Health Services twenty-eight days before you start trading, to enable them to inform you about food safety standards.

Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Main Requirements of the Regulations

Summary Table: Main requirements of Schedule 1 of the Regulations

Schedule 1, Chapter 1

General requirements for food premises (other than those specified in Chapter III).

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

I.1: Food premises.

-

Keep clean, and in good repair and condition.

I.2: Layout, design, construction, and size.

should permit good hygiene practice and be easy to clean and/or disinfect and should protect food against external sources of contamination such as pests.

-

I.3: Sanitary and handwashing facilities.

Adequate facilities must be available and lavatories must not lead directly into food handling rooms.

-

I.4: Washbasins.

Must have hot and cold (or appropriately mixed) running water and materials for cleaning and drying hands. Where necessary there must be separate facilities for washing food and hands.

Provide soap and suitable hand drying facilities.

I.5 and 6: Ventilation.

There must be suitable and sufficient means of natural or mechanical ventilation. Ventilation systems must be accessible for cleaning, eg. give easy access to filters.

-

I.7: Lighting.

Food premises must have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting.

-

I.8: Drainage.

Adequate drainage facilities must be provided.

-

I.9: Changing Facilities

Adequate changing facilities must be provided where necessary.

-

Schedule 1, chapter II

Specific requirements in rooms where foodstuffs are prepared, treated or processed (excluding dining areas and those premises specified in chapter III).

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

II.1: Rooms where food is actually prepared, treated or processed.

Floors, walls, ceilings and surfaces (which come into contact with food) must be adequately maintained, easy to clean and where necessary disinfect.

Keep all surfaces, fixtures and fittings hygienic, to prevent contamination of food.

II.2: Cleaning and disinfecting of tools, utensils and equipment.

Provide adequate facilities, including hot and cold water, for cleaning and where necessary disinfecting tools and equipment.

Clean and disinfect tools and equipment so as to ensure food safety.

II.3: Washing of food.

Where appropriateprovide adequate facilities for washing food. Supply with hot and/or cold water as required.

Wash food properly where necessary.

Schedule 1, Chapter III

Requirements for movable and/or temporary premises (such as marquees, market stalls, mobile sales vehicles), premises used primarily as a private dwelling house, premises used occasionally for catering purposes and vending machines.

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

III.1: Requirements for premises and vending machines.

The siting, design and construction must aim to avoid contamination of food and harbouring of pests.

Keep clean and in good repair so as to avoid food contamination.

III.2(a): Working practices for movable or temporary premises.

Provide appropriate facilities for personal hygiene.

Take all reasonable, practical steps to avoid the risk of contamination of food or ingredients.

III.2(b): Surfaces.

Surfaces in contact with food must be easy to clean and where necessarydisinfect.

Take all reasonable, practical steps to avoid the risk of contamination of food or ingredients.

III.2(c) and (d): Cleaning of utensils and foodstuffs.

Adequate provision must be made for cleaning foodstuffs and the cleaning and where necessary disinfection of utensils and equipment.

Take all reasonable, practical steps to avoid the risk of contamination of food or ingredients.

III.2(e): Hot and cold water supply.

An adequate supply of hot and/or cold potable water must be available.

Take all reasonable, practical steps to avoid the risk of contamination of food or ingredients.

III.2(f): Waste storage and disposal.

Adequate arrangements for storage and disposal of waste.

Take all reasonable, practical steps to avoid the risk of contamination of food or ingredients.

Schedule 1, chapter IV

Transport.

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

IV.1: Containers and vehicles used for the transport of food.

Where necessary their design must allow them to be adequately cleaned and disinfected.

Keep clean and in good order to prevent contamination.

IV.2: Dedicated containers and vehicles used for bulk transport of food in liquid, granular or powder form.

Containers or vehicles used must be reserved for food only and marked as such, when there is a risk of contamination.

Do not use containers or vehicles to transport anything other than food where this may result in contamination.

IV.3: Containers or vehicles used for different foods or for both food and non-food products.

-

Where necessary separate different products effectively to protect against the risk of contamination

IV.4: Where different products have been carried in the same containers.

-

Effectively clean them between loads to avoid the risk of contamination.

IV.5: Minimising the risk of contamination.

-

Foodstuffs in conveyances or containers must be placed so as to minimise the risk of contamination.

Schedule 1, Chapter V

Equipment requirements.

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

V.1: Equipment requirements.

Articles, fittings and equipment that can come into contact with food shall be made of such materials and maintained so that they, and the surrounding areas, can be kept clean and where necessarydisinfected.

All equipment and surfaces that come into contact with food must be kept clean.

Schedule 1, chapter VI

Food waste

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

VI.1: Food and other waste.

-

Do not allow food and other waste to gather in food rooms, unless this is unavoidable for the proper functioning of your food business.

VI.2: Containers for food and other waste.

Containers must be able to be closed unless the environmental health services are satisfied that this is not appropriate. They must be kept in good condition and where necessary be easy to clean disinfect.

-

VI.3: Arrangements for the Storage and removal of refuse.

Refuse stores to be designed and constructed to be easily cleaned and prevent pests gaining access.

Arrange for the proper periodic removal of the refuse and keep the area clean, and protect against pests and contamination generally.

Schedule 1, chapter VII

Water Supply

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

VII.1: Water supply.

There must be an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water.

Where necessary, for food safety, use potable water to prevent contamination

VII.2: Ice

-

Where appropriate, ice must be made from potable water to prevent contamination. Ice should be stored and handled carefully to protect it from contamination.

Schedule 1, Chapter VIII

Personal Hygiene.

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

VIII.1: Personal hygiene.

Food handlers must wear suitable clean and where appropriate protective clothing.

Everyone in a food handling area must maintain a high level of personal cleanliness.

VIII.2: Infected food handlers.

-

No one suffering from or a carrier of a disease which could be transmitted through food should work in a food handling area.

Schedule 1, chapter IX

Provisions applicable to foodstuffs.

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

IX.1: Raw materials.

-

No raw materials or ingredients should be accepted if known or suspected of being contaminated and which would still be unfit after normal sorting or processing.

IX.2: Protection of raw materials from contamination.

-

At any stage of the business operation food must be protected from contamination likely to render it unfit for human consumption.

Schedule 1, chapter X

Training

Equipment and Facilities

Actions

X.1: Training.

-

All food handlers must be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters to a level appropriate to their job


Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Food Hygiene: Product Specific Regulations

Regulations and related guidance are listed below. Copies of the Regulations are available from The Stationery Office Limited. Other publications listed are available from the locations shown.

The Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995. Ref: S.I. 539.

The Meat Products (Hygiene) Regulations 1994. Ref: S.I. 3082.

The Minced Meat and Meat Preparation Directive (in draft form as of July 1995).

The Wild Game Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1993 (in draft form as of July 1995).

The Poultry Meat Farmed Game Bird Meat and Rabbit Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995. Ref: S.I. 540.

The Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations 1995. Ref S.I. 1086.

The Dairy Products (Hygiene) (Scotland) Regulations 1995. Ref S.I. 1372.

The Egg Products Regulations 1993. Ref S.I. 1520.

The Food Safety (Fishery Products) Regulations 1992. Ref: S.I. 3163.

The Food Safety (Fishery Products) (Derogations) Regulations 1992. Ref: S.I. 1507.

The Food Safety (Fishery Products) (Import Conditions and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 1994. Ref: S.I. 2783.

The Food Safety (Live Bivalve Molluscs and Other Shellfish) Regulations 1992. Ref: S.I. 3164.

The Food Safety (Live Bivalve Molluscs and Other Shellfish) (Import Conditions and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 1994. Ref: S.I. 2782.

The Food Safety (Live Bivalve Molluscs) (Derogations) Regulations 1992. Ref: S.I. 1508.

The Food Safety (Fishery Products on Fishing Vessels) Regulations 1992. Ref: S.I. 3165.

Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


Food Hygiene: Department of Health Publications

Publications

Contact Details

   

Council Directive 93/43/EEC of 14 June 1993 on the hygiene of foodstuffs

Department of Health
Room 501A
Skipton House
80 London Road
Elephant and Castle
London SE1 6LW

   

The Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 - Ref: S.I. 1763

The Stationery Office Publications Centre
PO Box 276
London
SW8 5DT

   

A Template - Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice*

Department of Health
PO Box 777
London SE1 6XH

Fax: 01623 724 524

email: doh@prologistics.co.uk

   

Food Hazards and Your Business*

Department of Health
PO Box 777
London SE1 6XH

Fax: 01623 724 524

email: doh@prologistics.co.uk

 

   

Further copies of this booklet, A guide to the General Food Hygiene Regulations*

Department of Health
PO Box 777
London SE1 6XH

Fax: 01623 724 524

email: doh@prologistics.co.uk

 

   

Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice: Catering Guide
ISBN 0 900 103 00 0

Chadwick House Group Ltd
Publications Department
Chadwick Court
15 Hatfields
London SE1 8DJ

   

*Fax number for orders only: 01937 845 381

 

Contents: Guide to the general Food Hygiene Regulations


This page last updated 8 March 2000

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