food safety in education
28th February 2018

Is There Specific Food Hygiene Legislation In Schools And What Do They Need To Know?

Schools, and the education sector in general, may not be seen as businesses or institutions that would typically be governed by food hygiene legislation. However, as they all serve food products in some capacity, should food hygiene legislation in schools be given prominence? Is food hygiene legislation in schools even a consideration?

Is There Specific Food Hygiene Legislation In Schools?

Whilst schools are covered by food hygiene legislation, it’s the same food hygiene legislation that govern any other business. As such, there are no specific considerations that need to be taken within the education sector.

If There’s No Specific Rules For Schools, What Do They Need To Know?

In short, schools need to follow the same food hygiene legislation as every other business. Maintaining a good level of food hygiene allows your business to:

  • Remain legally compliant
  • Reduce the risk of food poisoning or cross contamination
  • Protect your reputation

However, good food hygiene should also be about preventing serious illnesses by preventing the spread of harmful bacteria. That’s why it’s especially important to ensure that every food handler within your school adheres to the 4C’s of food safety.

What are the 4C’s Of Food Safety?

In short, adhering to the 4C’s of food safety should ensure that you are able to prevent the spread of the most common food safety related issues. The 4C’s are:

  • Cross-contamination
  • Cleaning
  • Chilling
  • Cooking

We’ve talked in more depth about the 4C’s of food safety before so we won’t go into too much detail here. Click the link above to read our full article on the 4C’s.

Anything Else?

In 2017, we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the FSA to find out how many schools received a food hygiene rating of 2 or below and we were shocked by the results. We saw a distinct and progressive increase in the number of schools that received this rating between 2015 and 2016. Some of the reasons we found for these scores were:

  • Presence of mouse droppings
  • Poor standards of cleanliness
  • Broken equipment used in food prep
  • Incorrect food storage techniques
  • No food safety management systems in place

These were just some of the reasons provided for these shockingly low scores. At the time we spoke to a spokesperson from Ofsted who told us, “With regards to schools, inspectors observe pupils in a wide range of situations outside lessons – these include lunchtime breaks. They do not inspect the quality of the food. However, when considering pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare, school inspectors will, in discussion with pupils, check the extent to which pupils are equipped to make informed choices about healthy eating, fitness and mental wellbeing.”

So, despite the lack of food hygiene legislation in schools, there are still some fairly serious considerations that every school or educational institute should be taking. On top of this, you’ll need to have a comprehensive food safety management system in place as well as a robust food safety policy and a regular food safety training programme, which is where we can help.

As part of the ELAS Group, STS are perfectly placed to provide the food safety and food hygiene help and assistance for everyone within the education sector. To speak to one of our advisors, give us a call today on 0845 862 8030


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