undefinedAll food outlets must produce food that is safe to eat. Businesses must be able to show what they do to make food safe to eat, and have this written down as a record.

Safer Food Better Business (SFBB), is a novel, jargon-free system developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the catering industry and local authorities, to help small businesses with food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations. The SFBB packs focus on the principle concerns in any catering operation (known as the '4 Cs'), that if not properly managed could be hazardous:

  • cross contamination
  • cleaning
  • chilling
  • cooking

How can I get a copy of the Safer Food, Better Business pack?

There are a number of SFBB packs available designed to meet the specific needs of different food businesses. These can be downloaded and printed from Food Standards Agency - Safer Food, Better Business.

The Safer Food Better Business approach is simple and straight forward and will not take people away from the main priority of running their business. Successfully put into practice, this approach will not only enable people to comply with law, but also protect their business's reputation and help achieve a higher food hygiene rating. It may also improve bottom line profits by reducing food wastage as a result of managing food safety.

Cornwall Council offer good quality printed versions of the Safer Food Better Business pack in colour on 100g bond paper which comes hole punched and ready to place straight into your folder.  For more details on how to purchase your pack refer to http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/food-safety/safer-food-better-business-sfbb/

Food safety tips

The following information covers different aspects of food safety and preparation, which will be invaluable when considering Hazard Analysis for operations in your business and formulating improvements in the food preparation and serving/storage chain of events.

Effective cleaning is essential to get rid of harmful bacteria in your kitchen and to stop them spreading. The tips in this section will help you to be sure that you and your staff are cleaning properly.

All food contact surfaces e.g. preparation surfaces, cutting boards, pots, pans, utensils and all hand contact surfaces e.g. door and cupboard handles, bin lids, taps, should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals to prevent the build up of contamination around food areas.

How you can keep track of cleaning

A cleaning schedule is a good way to make sure that surfaces and equipment are cleaned when they need to be. Work out what needs cleaning every day, or more than once a day, and what needs cleaning less frequently. Your schedule should show:

  • what needs to be cleaned
  • who is responsible for doing the cleaning
  • how often it needs to be done
  • how the cleaning should be done
  • what to do if the person checking the cleaning finds something wrong

You could also prepare cleaning instructions for your staff showing:

  • what cleaning chemicals should be used
  • how the chemicals should be used, including how much they should be diluted and how long they should be left on the surface, as recommended by the manufacturer
  • how the chemicals should be stored (in a special place away from food)

A member of staff should be made responsible for checking that cleaning is being done properly. Cleaning record sheets can help them record what they observe.

When they make the check they should write down whether the cleaning has been done properly. If there are any problems they should make a note of what they did to put them right.

Thorough cooking is very important because it kills harmful bacteria in food. If bacteria survives in food because it isn't cooked properly, it could make your customers ill.

What you need to do

  • Don't serve any food that isn't properly cooked
  • Once food is cooked, serve it immediately or keep it hot until serving
  • If you're cooking food in advance, cool and chill it quickly

How to check

Inspect food to make sure it's thoroughly cooked. For example, check that it's piping hot all the way through and that meat juices run clear.

Check regularly that hot food is kept hot until serving.

Remember, hot food must be kept above 63°C (145°F).

When you're serving or displaying hot food, you can keep it below 63°C for a maximum of two hours. You can only do this once. Then you must throw away the food, or cool it as quickly as possible and keep it chilled until it's used.

Cooking Food

  • Cook food thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria
  • Don't shorten cooking times given on package labels or cooking books
  • Thaw frozen meat and poultry thoroughly or it may not cook completely (it's best to defrost food in the fridge or by microwaving)
  • Do not make recipes that include eggs which won't be cooked, such as mayonnaise; raw eggs sometimes contain food poisoning bacteria only killed by thorough cooking
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • Cooked food should only be reheated once until piping hot
  • Use a fridge thermometer to check the temperature of your fridge regularly. The coldest part of the fridge should be between 0°C and 5°C (32°F and 41°F)
  • You could use a probe thermometer to check if food is being kept hot (above 63°C) or cold (below 8°C).  Make sure you always clean the thermometer thoroughly every time you use it, before and after putting it in the food.

Chilled storage of foods

Some foods need to be kept chilled to keep them safe, for example food with a 'Use by' date, food that you have cooked and won't serve immediately, or other ready-to-eat food such as prepared salads. If these foods are not properly chilled, bacteria can grow and make people ill.

What you need to do

  • Aim to keep the coldest part of your fridge between 0°C and 5°C (32°F and 41°F)
  • Keep a fridge thermometer in the coldest part and check the temperature regularly
  • keep the most perishable foods, like cooked meats, in the coldest part of the fridge
  • Return perishable foods to the fridge or freezer as soon as possible after use
  • Remember to keep raw food below ready-to-eat food in the fridge or use separate fridges for raw and ready-to-eat food, if possible
  • Wrap or cover all raw or uncooked foods so that they can't touch or drip on other foods and contaminate them
  • To keep the fridge cold, don't overload it or leave the door open longer than necessary
  • Don't put hot food in the fridge; let it cool first
  • Don't keep food beyond its "use by" date
  • Empty any part-used can into a bowl and cover it, otherwise the tin may contaminate the food
  • Follow storage instructions given on food packages

How to check

  • Check chilled food on delivery to make sure it's cold
  • Check that food that needs to be chilled is put in the fridge as soon as it arrives
  • Check regularly that your fridge and display units are cold enough
  • Check the time between cooking food and chilling it, this shouldn't be longer than one to two hours
  • Remember, chilled food must be kept below 8°F, ideally 5°F

When you're serving or displaying chilled food you can keep it above 8°F for a maximum of four hours. You can only do this once. Then you must throw away the food or keep it chilled until it's used.


It is important to cool food as quickly as possible in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Ideally this should be cooled to less than 8°F within 90 minutes.

Food can be cooled quickly by a variety of methods. These include:

  1. Dividing food into smaller amounts
  2. Placing food in shallow dishes
  3. Running cold water through foods e.g. rice
  4. Placing a container of hot foods in an ice water bath
  5. Placing in a cool part of the kitchen or cool food room; ensure it is properly covered to protect against contamination
  6. Using a fan to blow air across the food; ensure the fan is in a clean condition

Hot foods

Hot foods must be stored above 63°C to prevent the excessive growth of bacteria. Hot foods can be kept below this temperature for a maximum of two hours before being used, returned to above 63°C, or chilled.

Cross-contamination is when bacteria spread between food, surfaces or equipment. It's most likely to happen when:

  • Raw food touches (or drips onto) other food
  • Raw food touches (or drips onto) equipment or surfaces
  • People touch raw food with their hands

So, if raw meat drips onto a cake in the fridge, bacteria will spread from the meat to the cake.

If you cut raw meat on a chopping board, bacteria will spread from the meat to the board and knife. If you then use the same board and knife (without washing them thoroughly) to chop a cucumber, the bacteria will spread from the board and knife to the cucumber.

Hands can also spread bacteria. If you touch raw food and don't wash your hands thoroughly you can spread bacteria to other things you touch.

By avoiding cross-contamination, you can stop bacteria spreading.

What you need to do

  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate
  • Clean surfaces and equipment thoroughly before you start to prepare food and after they have been used with raw food
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw food

How to check

  • Supervise cleaning and food handling
  • Check that raw and ready-to-eat foods are kept apart when they are stored, prepared and displayed
  • Make sure that your staff know how to avoid cross-contamination

An easy way to prevent cross-contamination is to use different chopping boards and different knives for raw and ready-to-eat food. Try using one colour for chopping boards and knives used with raw food and another colour for those used with ready-to-eat food.

It is vital that good standards of personal hygiene are maintained by food handlers. Contaminated hands will spread bacteria around a kitchen very quickly.

To prevent cross contamination of food it is essential to wash your hands frequently. Examples include:

  • Before starting work
  • Before handling food
  • Between handling raw and ready to eat foods
  • After going to the toilet
  • After handling raw foods
  • After handling waste
  • After eating, drinking or smoking, coughing, sneezing or touching your face
  • After taking a break
  • After handling chemicals
  • After handling money

How to Wash Your Hands

Use warm water and preferably antibacterial soap. After wetting hands, apply soap and use the following procedure to clean your hands thoroughly:

  1. Rub palm to palm
  2. Rub backs of both hands
  3. Rub palm to palm with fingers
  4. Rub backs of fingers (interlocked)
  5. Rub all parts of both hands
  6. Rub both palms with fingertips
  7. Rinse hands under running water and dry thoroughly on clean towel

In addition, it is important that staff maintain a high degree of personal hygiene with regard their personal habits. For example:

  • No smoking in food areas
  • No coughing, sneezing, spitting over food
  • No strong smelling perfumes should be worn when handling foods
  • No nail varnish should be worn when handling food
  • No jewellery other than a plain wedding band or sleeper earrings should be worn
  • All cuts, wounds, sores should be covered with a waterproof dressing
  • Overclothing should be clean and present no risk of contamination to food
  • Hair should be tidy and covered where necessary to prevent the risk of it falling into food

Staff should report to their supervisor if they have had symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps or fever. These may be indications that they have or have had food poisoning. They should also inform their supervisor if they have infected cuts or wounds, boils or sores that may lead to the contamination of foods.

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