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Hazard analysis

What does the law require?

A proprietor of a food business shall identify any step in the activities of the food business which is critical to ensuring food safety and ensure that adequate safety procedures are identified, implemented, maintained and reviewed.

How am I to do that?

Use the step by step guide below. You may wish to use the 'Safer Food Better Business' package. Please click on the relevant heading in the contents list to the left of this page to access this information or click on the link at the bottom of this page.

What is a food hazard?

Anything that can contaminate the food or cause harm to the consumer.

Such as?

They can be bacterial hazards: the presence, growth or survival of bacteria in food.

Physical hazards can also be a problem: foreign objects in food, contaminants from people, equipment or pests.

Don't forget chemical hazards: use and storage of cleaning chemicals, old equipment, prolonged storage.

Do I have to check everything?

No, but you must concentrate on the CRITICAL STEPS: these are the points at which the hazard must be controlled to ensure that it is completely eliminated or reduced to a safe level.

How detailed do the controls have to be?

They must be as precise as possible: specify actual times and temperatures, particular cleaning chemicals, specific storage areas and times. Staff carrying out checks must be competent and must have the appropriate equipment.

Will that be enough to comply?

No! Your business changes and your procedures must reflect those changes. New staff, equipment, changes to the menu and changes to suppliers will dictate change. There may be other reasons .... you must consider them all.

Examples of generalised hazards etc in a Catering Business

A table giving examples of generalised analysis of critical steps, hazards, controls and monitoring in a catering business can be downloaded below.

Recording of critical food safety steps

Suggested controls on the download above are examples of good practice in an average catering premises. Other foods or drinks may involve different handling or preparation steps and these will need to be analysed accordingly. Retail shops etc will have their own particular steps and hazards but the same principles will apply. The form "Record of Identification, Control and Monitoring of Critical Food Safety Steps" may be used as the basis for analysing the critical steps in your food business if you so wish.

Temperature control monitoring

Correct temperature control is the single most important factor in preventing food poisoning. The common food poisoning organisms cannot multiply or produce poisons at temperatures below 5°C, and at temperatures above 63°C they begin to die off.

The 'Temperature Monitoring Record Sheet' is intended to assist you in keeping checks on the operating temperatures of fridges, freezers, and hot or cold display cabinets. It could also be used, or adapted, for other purposes such as recording a daily check on Use By dates or weekly or longer checks on Best Before dates.

Step By step guide

No Step Hazard Action
1 Purchase High risk (ready to eat) foods contaminated with food poisoning bacteria or toxins (poisons produced by bacteria). Buy from reputable supplier only.
Specify maximum temperature at delivery.
2 Receipt of food High Risk (ready to eat) foods contaminated with food poisoning bacteria or toxins. Check it looks, smells and feels right.
Check the temperature is right.
3 Storage Growth of food poisoning bacteria, toxins on high risk (ready to eat) foods. Further contamination. High risk foods stored at safe temperatures. Store them wrapped. Label high risk foods with the correct 'sell by' date. Rotate stock and use by recommended date.
4 Preparation Contamination of high risk (ready to eat) foods. Growth of food poisoning bacteria. Wash your hands before handling food. Limit any exposure to room temperatures during preparation. Prepare with clean equipment, and use this for high risk (ready to eat) food only. Separate cooked foods from raw foods.
5 Cooking Survival of food poisoning bacteria. Cook rolled joints, chicken, and reformed meats, e.g. burgers, so that the thickest part reaches at least 75°C. Sear the outside of other, solid meat cuts (e.g. joints of beef, steaks) before cooking.
6 Cooling Growth of any surviving spores or food poisoning bacteria. Production of poisons by bacteria. Contamination with food poisoning bacteria. Cool foods as quickly as possible. Don't leave out at room temperatures to cool unless the cooling period is short, e.g. place any stews or rice etc, in shallow trays and cool to chill temperatures quickly.
7 Hot-holding Growth of food poisoning bacteria. Production of poisons by bacteria. Keep food hot, at or above 63°C.
8 Reheating Survival of food poisoning bacteria. Reheat to above 75°C.
9 Chilled storage Growth of food poisoning bacteria. Keep temperature at right level. Label high risk ready to eat foods with correct date code.
10 Serving Growth of disease-causing bacteria. Production of poisons by bacteria contamination. COLD SERVICE FOODS - serve high risk foods as soon as possible after removing from refrigerated storage to avoid them getting warm. HOT FOODS - serve high risk foods quickly to avoid them cooling down.

 

A comprehensive guide to food safety management and hazard analysis can be downloaded below:

Downloadable Documents

All documents open in a new window.
File nameSizeApproximate Download time
Adobe PDF format - download the viewerForm to Record the Identification, Monitoring and Control of Critical Food Safety Steps in PDF format17 Kb2 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Microsoft Word formatForm to Record the Identification, Monitoring and Control of Critical Food Safety Steps in Word format20 Kb3 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Adobe PDF format - download the viewerTemperature monitoring record in PDF format62 Kb9 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Microsoft Word formatTemperature monitoring record in Word format27 Kb4 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Adobe PDF format - download the viewerTable showing examples of generalised analysis in PDF format39 Kb6 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Microsoft Word formatTable showing examples of generalised analysis in Word format27 Kb4 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Adobe PDF format - download the viewerGuide to food safety management and hazard analysis in PDF format587 Kb1 min 24 secs @ 56k, 2 secs @ 2mb

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