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Friend or Foe?

From a food hygiene inspecting point of view, we come across so many SFBB packs (retail, catering, childminding). Some in neat and tidy files, some hidden in cupboards, and some in a mass of loose papers! We have seen them all!

The document side of things is one of the elements of the score you are given when it comes to receiving your food hygiene rating. Unfortunately, several excellent business fall short of a 5 purely because they haven’t got the correct paperwork or it is missing, or it has been taken home, or it just ‘not available’. The SFBB should be kept on site.

The general feeling of the public is that if a business hasn’t got a 5, then they must be dirty! Some don’t realise that businesses are checked on cleanliness, how the food is made, ensuring it is safe but also down to the paperwork. So no paperwork and automatically your score will be dropped to below a 5. So the SFBB is your friend. If filled out correctly, it outlines how your business produces safe foods, information on your allergen controls, pest control, management of staffing (training), etc.

The SFBB should be made available to all food handlers and they should know what is contained in it. There is a section near the back of the pack, that staff must sign and date that they have read and understood the SFBB. This can be used as a very useful training aid too. At the back of the pack, there is a diary with the Opening and Closing Checks. These should represent what you do when you open and close but you can design your own list or add to the one in the pack.

There is often confusion on what to write in the diary section. Some businesses just use it to purely record anything that goes wrong and what they did to put it right, others use it to record the occasional temperatures too. We do not expect it to be a novel in each day or week, but we would like to see that it is a working document. So for example, the fridge wasn’t working – what did you do? Move the food to another unit? Call an engineer? Buy a new fridge? etc. etc.

What do you do if you inherit a SFBB and you are running exactly the same business?

Do you need to get a new SFBB? Not necessarily. Of course you can download a new SFBB from the Food Standards Agency website. This will ensure you do have the latest version (eg recent amendments have included additional safe methods for allergens and acrylamides). However, if the previous owners have recently completed the current SFBB, and you do retain it, you must go through each section carefully and ensure that the SFBB fits to your business, and amended it accordingly.

What do we look for?

We ask for your SFBB and we check that the main sections have been adequately completed and the diary is up to date. We may take a section and ask you questions about it. EG. Look at the cooling section and ask how you cool foods? Your answer should represent what you have written in that section. If you have missed the odd day of the diary, we would not mark you down for the odd one. However, if there were considerable gaps, this would mean that the SFBB is not being used as a working document and this could be reflected in the score. So please do complete the diary daily. Please remember that we do not want to trick or try and catch you out, we do want to help you achieve the most from the visit, and we are always happy to answer questions.

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