An updated version of a hygiene standards guide for the catering sector has been published by a trade group in the United Kingdom.

UKHospitality represents more than 730 companies operating around 85,000 venues across the sector in England, Scotland, and Wales.

The document contains advice and guidance for caterers on how to comply with food hygiene laws and covers the UK, so helps environmental health officers with the enforcement and inspection of caterers. It was developed by industry and is recognized by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

Topics mentioned include cleaning and disinfection, pest control, food hygiene, food waste, illness of food handlers, HACCP, allergens, cold storage, and temperature control.

New topics covered

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said the consistent approach should make complying with legislation easier.

“Maintaining our high standards of food safety and hygiene is a top priority for all hospitality venues and this industry guide is the gold standard for the industry to get their advice and guidance on complying with legislation. It is essential reading for everyone in hospitality with a catering offering and as the rules and regulations continue to change, it was important for us to review, update and relaunch the guide,” she said.

The revised version includes four new sectors on food crime, donating leftover food to charity, freezing and defrosting food, and the shelf life of chilled vacuum-packed meats.

Katie Pettifer, director of the strategy and regulatory compliance at FSA, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to do the right thing for consumers, so we were pleased to work with UKHospitality and Food Standards Scotland on the latest update to the industry guide. It will provide up-to-date, accurate, and understandable guidance to help food businesses across the UK achieve good food hygiene compliance.”

Geoff Ogle, FSS chief executive, said the updated guidance emphasizes the importance that industry and regulators place on food safety.

“Consumers reasonably expect their food to be safe and this guidance enables the hospitality sector to ensure that high standards are maintained. Consumers will always go back to a business if they have had a positive experience, if they have a bad experience they’ll not return,” he said.

The guide also offers advice to operators on good practices, which can contribute to producing safe food and customer satisfaction.

“The new guide will be the go-to document for food business operators and enforcement authorities when they look to how compliance with food hygiene legislation should be achieved, leading to a consistent application of the rules,” said David Bashford, Food Alert managing director.

Hong Kong e-commerce guide

Meanwhile, another guide has been released in Hong Kong for takeaway food and meal delivery services.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) document covers hygiene and food safety for handling and delivery of meals ready for consumption, to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases.

Food for takeaways or delivery should be kept at or below 4 degrees C (39.2 degrees F) before packing and during delivery, if it is cold and above 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) for hot items. If a food warming or refrigerating device is not available for hot and cold items, all food should be delivered to the customer within one hour of preparation.

Suitable containers should be used for food with packaging designs or tamper-evident devices to prevent tampering. Storage compartments of vehicles for food transportation and delivery containers should be cleaned before and after each delivery and maintained in good condition. All delivery records should be kept by online food platforms or delivery agents for 60 days for tracking by the authorities in case of an outbreak or recall, according to the guide.

An FEHD spokesman said food transactions through the Internet, mobile apps or social media have increased.

“The FEHD understands that members of the public are concerned about the hygiene conditions during operation of food premises, online food delivery platforms and food deliverers, as well as food safety issues, therefore it has prepared a practical guide for all related business operators including food premises, online food platforms, food delivery agents and food deliverers to observe when providing takeaway meals and meal delivery services,” he said.

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