Many successful catering businesses run from the home be it event caterers, bakers, meal prep services, free food charity, confectioners and more. From humble beginnings, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can grow and prosper.
Just like any food business on an outside premise such as a restaurant, a food business at home is subjected to the same rigorous high-standard inspections from an Environmental Health Officer (EHO).
EHOs can visit your home kitchen at any reasonable time to inspect your working kitchen and environment, making sure your food business is complying with hygiene and safety regulations set by the Food Standards Agency.
An EHO inspection at home may seem like a daunting prospect However, there are steps you can take to make your inspection goes as smoothly and successfully as possible.
What Will the EHO Check?
EHOs will check against a variety of criteria across all areas of your food business. They will check everything from the cleanliness of your environment, and the procedures that are in place when you handle food to your documents such as HACCP documents.
They will want to make sure that you are consistently upholding high standards, and not just performing on the day. This will be evident in your HACCP documents, where you can show your due diligence.
Thankfully, the Food Safety Agency has issued guidance on the areas they will be looking out for at an inspection, as well as a detailed criteria list.
EHOs will want to check your:
- Food Handling Practices
This will cover how you handle and prepare the food you work with, including how you prevent cross-contamination, allergen awareness and correct labelling, how food is heated, frozen, and thawed and the tools that go with it, such as chopping boards.
- Personal Hygiene
EHOs will want to make sure that you are following correct personal hygiene practices including PPE such as aprons, appropriate gloves, and hair nets with loose hair tucked away. They will also check hand washing procedures, and make sure there is a separate hand washing basin.
- Food Storage
This will cover how food is delivered, handled, stored appropriately in suitable conditions, and how stock rotation is carried out.
- Food Rooms and Equipment
This will be focused on the areas where food is prepared, including the work surfaces and equipment used. EHOs will be looking for cleaning-as-you-go practices and appropriate cleaning chemicals with appropriate cloths to prevent cross-contamination.
- Pest Control
EHOs will want to check for any sign of pest contamination in your home, including outside of the main food rooms, as visible signs indicate a deeper infestation. They will also evaluate how you prevent pests from entering the home, and any pets you may have.
- Waste and Laundry
EHOs will want to see where you store and handle your waste and launder the appropriate pieces you use such as cloths and aprons.
- Checks and Record-Keeping
EHOs will want to make sure that you are consistently adhering to due diligence and recording your safety checks. They will also check that you have appropriate safety equipment including working fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
If you want to brush up on your food hygiene and safety knowledge to make sure you always pass your EHO inspection at home, get in touch with us here at AMCAS Training today. Check out our accredited courses in catering and manufacturing.