basic food hygiene guidelines
8th February 2018


We’ve discussed the 4C’s of food safety in the past, but what other basic food hygiene guidelines should you be following if you’re in the food industry?

Well, there are several basic food hygiene guidelines that every food business should be following and there are also different basic guidelines that may also apply to your business, dependant on what you actually do.


According to the FSA, there are several other basic guidelines that every food business should be following:

  • Fitness for work of your food handlers
  • Water supply
  • Food waste guidance for business
  • Shelf life and storage of food
  • E.Coli O157 and controlling cross-contamination

But what are you required to do to follow these guidelines?

Fitness For Work Of Your Food Handlers

As a food business, you will inevitably have food handlers on your staff and maintaining their fitness for work is of the utmost importance for your business and the safety of your customers. Anyone who works around open food and is suffering from certain bacteria or viruses runs the risk of contaminating the food or the surfaces that the food may come into contact with. This, in turn, could lead to other members of staff or even the food itself becoming contaminated which could prove costly for your business. As a basic rule of thumb, precautions should be taken for anyone who has an illness that causes diarrhoea or vomiting. They must immediately report their symptoms to a member of your management team and cease what they are doing. Your management team must then ask the member of staff displaying these symptoms to leave the premises and not return until 48 hours AFTER the symptoms have naturally ceased. It’s imperative that this is always adhered to, to prevent unwanted contamination of your workplace, the food produced and their co-workers.

Water Supply

You are required to ensure that the water supply within your business remains safe for consumption and usage. This means that:

  • You need to have an adequate supply of drinking quality water which must be used wherever necessary to prevent food products from becoming contaminated
  • Any areas of your business that use water that is not required to be of drinking quality (fire control, refrigeration etc) must use a separate, identifiable system that does not connect to the systems for your drinking quality water
  • Where recycled water is used as an ingredient or in any step of food production, it must not be a potential contaminate. Any recycled water must be of the same standard of drinking quality water. Unless, however, your local authority agrees that it poses no threat of contamination to your finished food products.
  • Any ice that touches or is used in the production of food must be made from drinking quality water and must not pose a risk of contamination. Ice must be produced, stored and handled in a manner that prevents the risk of contamination
  • If steam is used in any step of the food production process, it must not contain any chemicals that would be hazardous to health or that may contaminate the food
  • If food is heated in airtight containers, the water used in the cooling process must not be a potential contaminate.

Food Waste Guidance For Business

You are required to ensure that all waste is disposed of in a safe and timely manner to remove the risk of contamination. This means that:

  • All rubbish, food waste and other, must be removed from rooms that contain food or are used in food production as quickly as possible to prevent build up.
  • Food waste and other rubbish must be placed in containers with a that can be closed, unless your local authority is satisfied that you have acceptable alternatives in place.
  • You must have enough room to store and dispose of any food waste and other rubbish. Waste store rooms must be designed, constructed and maintained in a manner that removes the risk of contamination and remains free of animals and pests.
  • All waste must be removed in an environmentally and hygienically friendly manner that complies with local and national waste disposal legislation.
  • Any waste must not be a direct or indirect source of contamination

Shelf Life And Storage Of Food

All food products must adhere to strict guidance on shelf life and temperature controls. This means that any food which is on sale to the general public cannot be sold beyond it’s stated shelf life. It also means that any food for sale to the general public must be stored within a set temperature range to prevent contamination.

E.Coli O157 And Controlling Cross-Contamination

All food businesses are required to take steps to control the risk of any food being contaminated by E.Coli O157. This means that your business must:

  • Keep work surfaces, areas and equipment used on raw and ready to eat food separate. Where possible these should be easily identifiable.
  • Specific machinery or equipment, such as slicers, vacuum packing machinery and more, should not be used for both raw and ready to eat food during normal business operations. If a business wishes to switch machinery from using raw to ready to eat food, or vice versa, the machinery must be fully stripped apart, disinfected and cleaned.
  • Some equipment, such as temperature probes, weighing scales etc, can be used for both raw and ready to food provided that they are fully cleaned and disinfected after every use
  • Handwashing must be carried out as a recognised technique.
  • Any disinfectants or sanitisers that are used must be of an officially recognised standard and must only be used as stated by their manufacturer.
What Does All This Mean For My Business?

Whilst most of these guidelines are easily adhered to internally, there are some that may require the help or assistance of a food hygiene expert or consultancy. Luckily, STS Solutions are perfectly placed to assist your business in the planning and implementation of all food safety techniques. In fact, we helped the FSA in compiling their Listeria Monocytogenes guidelines, which govern how hospitals store chilled food to prevent the spread of listeriosis. Why not give our team a call today on 0845 862 8030 or complete the contact form to see exactly how we could help your business


Get In Touch