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Food Safety

Food Safety

If you are starting up a new food business or taking one over, you are advised to visit the Food Standards Agency website
Food Standards Agency – Starting Up: Your first steps to running a catering business

Before you start operating your new food business you will need to think about Food Safety Management/HACCP. Under current European Union legislation, food businesses are required to implement and maintain permanent procedures based on HACCP principles. This section explains why it’s important to have in place a food safety management system based on these principles.

How do I document a HACCP / Food Safety Management System?
We provide a number of compliance tools for different types of businesses to help you meet your legal requirements. We can also provide one-to-one assistance in order to fulfil the legal requirements and improve your business’ food safety management. Your HACCP must be kept available for inspection at all times on your premises.

The Food Standards Agency has produced MyHACCP, a free online web tool that guides food businesses through the process of identifying food safety hazards and controls and the production of a documented food safety management system based on HACCP principles. The tool is aimed at small food manufacturing businesses but will be useful to businesses in other sectors.
MyHACCP

A guide Safe catering – your guide to making food safely has been developed with help and expertise from the food industry and local authorities. The guide will help you to produce a food safety management plan based on HACCP principles and to keep records appropriate to your business.
Safe catering – your guide to making food safely

When you start your business you will be provided with a Safe Catering folder and a pack of free record books. Additional record books are available from the Food Standards Agency

 Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB) helps small businesses with food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations. In order to help you comply, you can find advice, packs for specific types of food business and other resources to guide you on the Food Standards Agency website.

The Safe Food Handling for Butchers pack has been developed with help and expertise from the food industry and local authorities. This guide will help butcher premises producing raw and ready to eat foods to produce a food safety management plan based on HACCP principles and to keep appropriate records.

If you operate a food business you will need to be registered or approved by the Environmental Health Department.

Registration
All food businesses which handle, prepare or sell food are legally required to be registered with their local Council. There is no charge to register the business but it must be done at least 28 days before it is due to open.

A food business is one which:

  • carries out activities at any stage during the production, processing or distribution of food
  • is involved in the preparation, handling, selling, serving or distribution of food, drink or any other substance used in processing or as a food ingredient
  • is either a profit or not-for-profit, public or private venture
  • may be in the form of market stalls, delivery vehicles or any other moveable structures.

Approval
Some manufacturers handling products of animal origin may need to be approved by the local authority or the Food Standards Agency, rather than registered.  These include establishments, for example establishments who make meat preparations, minced meat and cooked meat products. If you are uncertain whether your business needs to be approved or registered, contact the Environmental Health Department.

For all food businesses you should also check to see if you need planning permission – if you do, contact the Planning Service who deal with all planning applications.

Eligibility Criteria
No provision in legislation

Regulation Summary
Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs, Article 6(2)
Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs

Application Evaluation Process
No provision in legislation

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

Registered premises
Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period

Approved premises
No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your approval application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it.

Apply online
Apply for registration of a food business establishment
Application to change a food premises registration
Application for approved food premises
Application to change a food premises approval

Forms to download, print and post
Apply for registration of a food business establishment
Application to change a food premises registration
Application for approved food premises
Application to change a food premises approval

Failed Application Redress
Contact Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council,  Environmental Health Department, PO Box 66,
Lakeview Road, Craigavon  BT64 1AL
Tel: 0300 0300 900  email:

Licence Holder Redress
Please contact Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council,  Environmental Health Department, PO Box 66,

Lakeview Road, Craigavon  BT64 1AL
Tel:  0300 0300 900  email:

Consumer Complaint
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made by you with the trader – preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, and you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other Redress
eg about noise, pollution, etc please contact Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council,  Environmental Health Department, PO Box 66, Lakeview Road, Craigavon  BT64 1AL

Tel: 0300 0300 900  email:

Trade Associations
Trade Associations Chilled Food Association
National Federation of Meat and Food Traders
Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA)
Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF)

The food hygiene rating scheme provides information on food hygiene standards to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food.  Businesses display stickers with a rating between zero and five.

How does it work?
Food outlets are inspected by Environmental Health Officers. During the inspection we check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements and cover areas such as:

  • how hygienically food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the structure of the buildings – cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe – including having a completed safe catering pack or equivalent, the previous history of compliance and staff training.

The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are then rated on a scale of 0 to 5.

For more information about the scheme visit the Food Standards Agency website

What can I do if I think the rating given is unfair or wrong?
You should talk to the Environmental Health Officer who inspected the business about why the rating was given.

If you still think that the rating is unfair or wrong, you can appeal in writing. To appeal, download an appeal form. and send it to the lead food officer within 21 days of notification of the score (this includes weekends and public holidays) of being told what your rating is.

You also have a ‘right to reply’. This is different from an appeal. You can download a right to reply form and send it to us to tell the food safety officer how the business has improved hygiene, or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection. We will publish a business’s right to reply online with the business’s hygiene rating.

Can I ask for a re-visit to get a new rating?
Yes, but only if you have made the improvements to hygiene that our food safety officer told you about at the last inspection. To ask for a re-visit download a re-visit form and send it to us.  A re-rating inspection will be carried out within 3 month of the request being made.  This visit will be unannounced.  There is a charge for the re-rating visit which must accompany the request.

For more frequently asked questions, visit the Food Standards Agency website

Register and Approval of Food Businesses
If you operate a food business you will need to be registered or approved by the Environmental Health Department. You may also need planning permission – if you think that you do, contact the Planning Department on 0300 0300 900. 

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