The Food Law

A. Food Safety Act 1990

The most important piece of legislation – empowers Ministers to make Regulations specifically for any process, premises, or food type.

Legislation enforced by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) who can enter premises at will during operating hours and invoke many controls on the proprietor including closing them down.

It is an offence to intentionally render food injurious to health (intentionally do something to it which would make food harmful to a consumer). Applies to the manufacturer or supplier.

E.g. Subjecting food to poor temperature control, which would allow bacteria to multiply to dangerous levels, renders it injurious to health.

It is also an offence to sell food, which does not comply with food safety requirements. Applies to anyone trying to sell that food. E.g.: Food which was rendered injurious to health; is unfit for human consumption; is so contaminated that it would be unreasonable to expect it to be eaten.

PENALTIES: Up to 2 years in jail per offence. £20,000 fine per offence.

B. Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regs 1995

Detailed regulations to set hygiene requirements for most catering, retail and distribution outlets.

There are two main requirements:

1. You must operate in a hygienic way.

All steps from receiving food to storage, preparation, cooking, cooling, transporting, and service etc. are carried out hygienically.

2. Precautions taken must be proportionate to the risk.

The caterer must take into account the nature of the food how it is to prepared and stored and also what will happen to it later in the food chain in order to determine what precautions are to be taken as some controls will have to be more strict than others.

All potential food hazards must be controlled and records of critical controls must be documented with frequent reviews of controlled to ensure that they are effective.

Basic hygiene requirements must be in place with the design and construction, be well maintained, well lit and ventilated, have adequate water supply, toilets, and drainage.

Supplies must be purchased only from reputable companies.

There must be adequate facilities for personal hygiene with sufficient hand basins, changing rooms with lockers and staff must report any illnesses to their managers in order to prevent contamination.

Training must be provided to all staff commensurate with their work activities. All staff must be properly supervised to ensure that they follow instructions.

Food waste must be carefully stored and disposed of in a safe manner and on a regular basis.


Must be clean, kept in good repair, insect/vermin/rodent proof and well lit and ventilated.


Must be made of non-absorbent materials, be durable, smooth and easy to clean and disinfect. Adequate maintenance is essential.


Wash hand basins for personnel and adequate sinks for washing food and equipment separately is essential. Hot water, drying facilities bactericidal soap and a nailbrush must be at WHB’S at all times.


All activities that expose food to a risk of contamination must be avoided. Temperature controls, hygienic practises etc. are very important. All staff should have basic food hygiene certificate while managers and supervisors should have the intermediate training provided, commensurate with the type of work undertaken.


A supply of hot and cold potable water, first aid equipment, and accommodation for outdoor clothing must be provided. Toilet facilities must be adequate, clean, well lit and ventilated and a "Now wash your hands please" notice provided.


All processes involved in producing food items must be risk assessed and clearly documented using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). All food processes must be carried out in accordance with this document as it is legally binding.

PENALTIES: Up to six months in jail per offence. 2,000 fine per offence.

C. Food Premises (Registration) Regs, 1991

All food premises must be registered with the Local Authority (EHO’s) four weeks prior to opening.

All proprietors must inform them of number of staff, type of processes being undertaken, types of food being used etc. in order that they can determine how frequently to inspect and the likely risk to consumers.

PENALTIES: £1,000 fine for failure to register. £5,000 fine for providing false information.

D. Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regs 1995

Proprietors must observe specified temperatures for the holding of food if this is deemed necessary to prevent a risk to health. All stages in the food production chain are subject to these Regs.

All food stored under refrigeration may now be stored below +8 °C (+5°C is a safer guideline).

Food stored hot must be kept above 63 °C for a maximum of two hours prior to it either being thrown away or cooled rapidly to below 8 degrees (can only be reheated once).

Food used for display may be kept above 8 °C for four hours at ambient temperature as long as it is either thrown away after this time or chilled to below 8 degrees again, upon which time it can be placed at ambient display for a further four hours. This can only be done ONCE.

E. Food Labelling Regs 1996

Caterers must tell the consumer what the food is and what it contains.

All food must clearly show on the labelling:

  • Name of food
  • List of ingredients
  • Minimum durability (Use By / Best Before)
  • Storage conditions
  • Weight / Quantity
  • Grade / Quality
  • Country of origin
  • Name and address of seller / packer

‘Use By’ dates are for high-risk perishable foods, which must be kept refrigerated. It is an offence to sell food or have food in your possession for sale beyond this date. It is an offence for anyone other than the manufacturer to alter a use By date label.

‘Best Before’ date labels are found on all other food types. These indicate how long the food can be kept for in its optimum condition. It is not an acceptable practise to use foods, which have exceeded its Best Before date.

PENALTIES: Maximum £5,000 fine per offence.

F. Beef Bones Regs, 1997 (Lifted On 17 December 1999 [UK])

As a precaution against BSE, since 16 December 1997 caterers must remove all bones from beef prior to cooking it (it cannot be cooked and then boned). Also, British beef bones cannot be used for broths or stocks.

Food Hall Butchers must remove the bones form the cuts of beef prior to selling them.

These Regs and The Animal by-products Order 1992, state that all waste bones must by law be disposed of separately in order that they cannot contaminate other types of waste, due to fears of BSE being transmitted into the food chain. Records of all bones sent for rendering must be recorded and kept on file for two years.

PENALTIES: £5,000 fine per offence and up to six months imprisonment.

G. Health And Safety At Work Act 1974

Principal Act aimed at protecting the health and safety of employees and the public.

Every employer is legally obliged to ensure, "as far as is reasonably practicable" the health, safety and welfare of all employees.

The main objectives of the Act include securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work; to protect non-employees and members of the public against risks to health and safety arising from the activities of persons at work and to control the keeping and use of dangerous substances.

Safe systems of work must be devised and documented with adequate supervision and training given to all staff.

Employees must ensure that their acts or missions do not adversely affect other persons.

Enforced by EHOs and the Health and Safety Executive.

PENALTIES: Up to 2 years in jail per offence. £20,000 fine per offence.

H. Control Of Substances Hazardous To Health Regs 1994(Coshh)

These Regs apply to all businesses making them implement measures, which ensure that employers, employees and members of the public are protected from hazard substances e.g. toxic, harmful, irritant or corrosive substances. Safe systems of work must be documented for the use of such substances e.g. cleaning fluid for beer lines or dishwasher concentrate.

Staff using dangerous cleaning chemicals must take care. Their managers upon starting work should train all staff in the safe use of chemicals and they must ensure that all of the necessary and relevant safety equipment that must be used with the chemicals is available, in good working order and is supervision must be given to ensure that these items are worn.

Letter Of Acknowledgment

Staff should note that this information pack forms part of your terms and conditions of employment. If there is anything that you do not understand, please make sure that you discuss it firstly with your Manager and if you are still unsure, with a Food Safety Advisor.

There also exists a Company Policy Manual for Food Production and Safety, which your Manager and Human Resource Manager will have. Staff should read the manual to fully understand their obligations under current law and with Blue Pudding’s standards.

Periodically, memos will be issued to Managers regarding policy amendments or changes to the law or company’s procedures. A regular Food Safety Newsletter outlining similar items will be posted in all units and notice boards and should be read regularly.

Please sign this acknowledgement and return it to your Manager immediately.

"I confirm that I have received and will read the contents of this ‘Food Safety for Food Handlers’ booklet and acknowledge that it forms part of my terms and conditions for employment. I undertake to locate Blue Pudding policy manual and make myself aware of the information contained therein directly upon commencing work within my department. If there is anything that I do not understand or should the manual be unavailable, I will make sure that I discuss this as a matter of urgency with my line manager."


Signed: ————————————————————

Print Name: ——————————————————-

Department: ——————————————————-

ID number: ——————————————————–

Date: —————————————————————