Today (7 June) is World Food Safety Day, an event created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to areas such as food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture and sustainable development.
At CIEH, we are celebrating the significant contribution made by environmental health professionals to ensuring our food is safe. This day of awareness will expose business operators and consumers to the magnitude of considerations and pertinence of food safety. We and our members remain committed to driving best practice to ensure the food we eat is safe all year round.
Reminding all involved in the food chain that food safety is not just a moral, but legal obligation, here are some of the key considerations for businesses not just today but every day to ensure they continue to comply with such necessary high standards.
Complying with the law
From source to supplier, a corner café to five-star hotel, every food business must comply with legal requirements to maintain high standards of food safety and integrity. Environmental health professionals not only enforce the law, but also advise businesses on best practice. Ensuring staff are trained, suppliers are maintaining high levels of food safety, managing food safety and more.
Infectious disease control
Environmental health professionals use their skills and expertise to determine the cause of foodborne illness, identify the source and prevent the further spread of illness in the community. They provide businesses with valuable advice on safe food handling practices and how to minimise the risk. To establish the source of illness environmental health professionals may take food samples from individuals and food businesses for analysis, establishing any foods eaten, places visited or contact with others, as well as premises that may be linked to any potential diseases such as food poisoning.
Incidents involving food allergens have been well-documented in recent years with the impending introduction of Natasha’s Law in October 2021, which will require foods pre-packaged for direct sale to carry a full ingredients list.
Food that might be perfectly safe for one person to eat may be harmful to another, resulting in allergic reactions that can range from mild to life-threatening. Environmental health professionals therefore work closely with businesses to ensure proper declaration of allergens in food through accurate labelling or readily available allergen information, the prevention of cross contamination, and education and training in allergens and safe food preparation.
Education and training
Wherever food is served, it is important to demonstrate the highest standards of food preparation, handling, storage and serving. This is not only to ensure the safety of those who will be consuming the food, but also that government regulations are being adhered to. In addition to the danger to public health, there are large fines in place for non-compliance, alongside the risk to the success and reputation of your business. It is therefore essential that you, and the people that you work with, are equipped with the right skills and knowledge.
CIEH has been protecting the public, supporting professionals and influencing policy for more than a century, making them uniquely equipped with the industry expertise to deliver effective training opportunities for general food safety, as well as food safety in catering and manufacturing respectively. Our courses have been carefully designed by subject-matter experts to ensure all those responsible for food safety, from food handlers and waiting staff through to supervisors and managers, can be compliant with the latest regulations and best practice quickly and easily.
From production all the way through to plate, high standards of food safety management and foodborne illness prevention must be upheld at all times, including implementing food safety policies, providing advice to your consumers and enforcing food law.