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How to Improve a Low Food Hygiene Rating

The Local Authority Food Inspector has paid a visit to your food business and disappointingly you have been awarded a low food hygiene rating.  So, you might be thinking…what next? In this instance, it is very natural to feel overwhelmed not knowing what should be done to help improve a low hygiene rating.

However, should you ever find yourself in this position our expert team at Fizz Training Academy have identified some top tips which have been proven to make some instant improvements.

Improving Low Food Hygiene Rating- Image sourced Shutterstock

Why is it Important to Get a Good Food Hygiene Rating?

A 5-star food hygiene rating will give your customers confidence that food safety and hygiene is taken seriously within your food business.  A good hygiene rating is not only a good advert for how you operate your food business, but also when customers see your hygiene rating it will encourage positive reviews and customer referrals.

A Food Hygiene Rating is awarded after you have had a visit from your Local Authority Food Inspector.  If food safety and hygiene have been properly adhered to and staff have been trained appropriately, a 5-star rating is likely to be achieved.  The first action to take after your food inspection has taken place is to look at your food hygiene inspection report to see what areas were awarded a low score.  Our team can help you with this with a detailed consultation with our trainer Click Here to Find out More. In the meantime, consider focusing on some key areas of your business including the below.

Keep your Paperwork in Check

Keeping a logbook is very important when working in a professional kitchen.  A food inspector will have wanted to see you have a proven track record for practising good food hygiene in your business.   Start keeping a record of fridge temperatures, your cleaning rota, staff training certificates and a log of any potential food safety hazards.

Keeping a record of your food safety protocols- Image sourced via Shutterstock

Consider Changing How You Store Food

During the inspection, they will see your methods for storing, prepping and cooking food.  In particular, they will want to see a clear demonstration that raw and cooked foods are not stored alongside each other and in racks, or not on the floor.  

As well as checking your kitchen logbook, they will also be physically checking the temperature of your fridge/freezers to make sure they are appropriately chilled.   During this part of the inspection, they also check use-by dates on the food currently in the kitchen.  If you haven’t already, you will need to consider implementing a system to make sure food is monitored in case it is past its use-by date it is disposed of. 

Revise your Cleaning Standards

This might sound like an obvious quick fix if you have received a low food hygiene rating.  However, when revising your cleaning protocols you ought to consider what the long-term plan looks like.  For example, instil a cleaning rota which deep clean all of kitchen workstations and surrounding areas. Make sure your team are appropriately trained in how to clean to a high standard and make this a property for anyone new to joining your business.   

Cleaning Rotas for staff members- Image sourced via Shutterstock

Learn the Fundamentals of HACCP

Learning HACCP will elevate how you implement food safety in your food business. It ensures that you are complying with government legislation and will help you to manage food safety hazards moving forward. Instilling the basic principles of HACCP will help keep your staff and customers safe. If you need to learn more, we recommend taking our Level 2 Food Hygiene & Safety Course which contains everything you need to learn about HACCP.

Ensure your Team are Trained in Food Hygiene and Safety

The best way you can safeguard your business from falling short on a food hygiene inspection is by ensuring your staff are trained to a high standard and that they understand the fundamentals of food safety.  This can be achieved by food hygiene and safety training.  A Level 2 Food Safety course is comfortably the most common training course taken by everyone from sandwich makers to waiting, staff and cooks. It’s a foundational course that provides a minimum qualification for anyone who is being employed to handle food.

There is a legal requirement that everyone who handles food in any capacity in a catering environment has received the appropriate supervision and training. The Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (RQF) is a qualification that fits this bill perfectly and is the most popular food safety qualification accepted by enforcement officers and auditors, accounting for 70% of all regulated food safety qualifications and certifying over 350,000 people every year.

The course covers the following topics: –

Law Compliance – One of the most important aspects of any hygiene and safety course is that what you are learning complies with government standards. Now, more than ever, we must be complying with the law on both a moral and customer relations level.

Scientific Knowledge – Not only does the course cover the more general practices and precautions that employees should be taking, but it also underlines the science behind those practices. This includes all of the microbiological, chemical, physical and allergenic hazards of a food-based environment and how to control them.

Practical Advice – There are several practical tips offered by the course that might otherwise be overlooked by those who haven’t come from a food preparation background. These include the practicalities of temperature control and stock rotation, as well as tips for keeping work areas and equipment clean and safe at all times.

Personal Hygiene – This is the big one, as in a post-lockdown world, whilst businesses can take every possible precaution to encourage employees to practice good hygiene, it is ultimately up to the individual. By learning the best personal hygiene practices and their significant importance, individuals will have the best possible chance of preventing contamination. This goes beyond simple hand washing and also includes best practices on protective clothing, cuts and reporting illness, which will be particularly important in a world still living with coronavirus.

Waste Disposal and Pest Control – Pest control is a fundamental aspect of every food safety course but when it comes to waste disposal, there are going to be more stringent expectations in place given the potential for coronavirus contamination.

Fizz Training Academy offer this course both via classroom and online. Both delivery methods will produce a learner certificate which can be shown as proof of sufficient training during a food inspection.  Click to see our courses

Train Your Team with Fizz Training Academy- Image sourced via Shutterstock

What To Do Next?

As outlined above, the benefits of food safety training are well worth the investment. Indeed, refreshers are recommended every 3 years.

Fizz Training Academy offers an online learning course for Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety. This course can be completed at any time at the learner’s pace. Alternatively, we have a range of classroom dates across the UK with spaces available to book.

Contact the Fizz Training Academy today to book your slot on the next Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety Course.