Food Business inspections underway
More than 250 new food businesses were registered in Hambleton during the coronavirus pandemic – as furloughed staff looked for new ways to supplement their income.
Environmental health officers are now working through inspections of these businesses, as well as the established businesses in the district - taking them through the steps needed to safely manage the health and safety risks from coronavirus and assessing their arrangements for food safety.
The Food Standards Agency has published its own ‘roadmap’ to ensure all businesses due or overdue a food hygiene inspection are visited and assessed.
“Officers from our commercial team have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to help businesses navigate through the pandemic,” said Cabinet Spokesperson, Councillor Stephen Watson.
“And now that many of the Covid restrictions on businesses have been removed, they are pushing on with inspections to reduce the backlog accrued during the time that most food businesses were not able to trade. They are busy carrying out food hygiene inspections alongside checks to ensure businesses have carefully thought about how they manage the risks of Coronavirus.
“Food businesses in Hambleton currently have very good compliance with food hygiene requirements, with only eight businesses in the district with an award of less than ‘3’, which is classed as generally satisfactory.”
The Hygiene Ratings are given following an inspection and range from ‘0’ - urgent improvement necessary, to ‘5’ - very good. A window sticker is provided to the business to show customers how good their hygiene standards are, and ratings are also published at www.food.gov.uk/ratings
The Government has also published ‘Working Safely’, a guide to help businesses reduce the spread of Coronavirus and mitigate the risk of a resurgence. Measures in the guide include:
· Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
· Advising customers and workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser frequently
· Providing adequate ventilation by opening doors, windows and vents and/or providing mechanical ventilation, or a combination of both
· Identifying poorly ventilated areas in the premises and taking steps to improve air flow - if there are areas of the premises that cannot be suitably ventilated, the advice is to try and minimise the use of these areas
· Ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell and showing the symptoms of Covid-19 do not attend the workplace
· Communicating to staff and customers the measures the business has put in place
· Ensuring workers who have been told to self-isolate do not come into work
Response to the checks with Hambleton businesses has been positive and well received by those visited.