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Food Safety Issues and Standards

Introduction

Food hygiene standards are perhaps the most important for any country to observe due to the damage which the food of poor quality may bring to the health of the population. In the light of the health problems caused by sub-quality food, new strategies started to be worked out to ensure food safety and security (Vapnek 2007). In case with hotels, food security is no less important than in case with other spheres of hospitality industry this is why all the hotels should strive to fulfill the requirements of food hygiene legislation. This report is going to address current UK food hygiene legislation and food hygiene policies which a hotel should keep to, as well as it is going to present implementation strategy which is going to help a hotel meet food hygiene requirements and discuss staffing issues and difficulties which a hotel business may encounter when trying to meet the requirements of food hygiene legislation.

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The UK Food Hygiene Legislation

Since the UK not only imports and exports products but has a number of food-related industries within it, it reinforces the position of the EU that “food businesses are responsible for the implementation of good hygiene practices” (Holt & Henson 2007, p. 320). In response to this, the UK has developed food hygiene standards which all the countries constituting it are obliged to follow. Current UK food hygiene legislation consists of the following:

  • Food Safety Act 1990
  • Food premises Registration Regulations 1991
  • General Food Hygiene Regulations 1995
  • Temperature Control Regulations 1995
  • General Product Safety Regulations 1994 (Wallin & Haycock 2007)

However, the major Act which the UK food-related businesses aim to observe is Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 which came into force on January 1, 2006 (Booty 2009). According to these Regulations, all the businesses related to food industry have to keep to “a food management system based on the seven principles of hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP)” (Booty 2009). These principles ensure quality control and food safety in the organizations which are at least somehow connected with food industry. Apart from them, the Regulations also include such requirements as registering food premises, following temperature control measures, complying with specific standards for food premises, training the staff in accordance with HACCP principles, ensuring proper sanitary conditions, fulfilling specific requirements for the design of the premises, etc (Booty 2009). Inability to meet these standards may result in fines and other types of legal punishment.

The Hotel’s Food Hygiene Policy

Food hygiene is especially important for the hotel industry. Hotels deal with food daily; they offer their visitors free breakfasts and sometimes even dinners, which means that they store, cook, and serve the variety of food products. Quality and safety of these products is crucial because hotels, just like restaurants, are required to have strict hygiene policies and keep to high sanitary standards. In case these policies and standards are absent, a hotel risks to stain its reputation, get fined, and even being closed with time. This is why the hotel management should take all the necessary measures to ensure maximum safety of receiving raw materials, storing them, cooking, and serving to the visitors. Any hotel’s food hygiene policy should have the following objectives:

  • establish contacts with reliable food suppliers whose products undergo all the necessary tests and are of high quality;
  • organize annual training for those members of the personnel who have access to food which is later served to the customers for the personnel to be aware of the current food hygiene standards in the country;
  • ensure that all the equipment and premises are in an appropriate sanitary state and the food supplies are stored in the conditions required by the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and Food Safety Act 1990;
  • ensure that all the food handling staff undergoes regular medical examination with sick workers being kept out of the workplace (Babcock 2007);
  • assign a person responsible for the hotel’s conformity to the abovementioned requirements

Implementation Strategy

The Implementation Strategy has to be designed in order to ensure the observance of the food hygiene policy by the hotel. This is going to demand full commitment of the personnel and management of the hotel, because implementation of all the changes is likely to take time, efforts, and costs. All the hotel departments which are related to food will undergo changes with personnel being subjected to training, medical examination, and the like activities.

Purpose

The purpose of this implementation strategy is to ensure that after all the activities conducted and all the measures taken the hotel will correspond to the food hygiene requirements presented in Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and Food Safety Act 1990.

Activities and Events

  • Medical examination of the food handling personnel;
  • Conducting tests among the personnel in order to check their knowledge regarding food safety regulations and the personnel’s responsibilities for food hygiene;
  • Training of the food handling personnel with respect to the requirements of food safety regulations;
  • Updating the existing equipment and checking its compliance with food safety regulations

Phases of Strategy Implementation

Phase 1 – Preliminary Evaluation

Evaluation of the plans which the hotel has will be carried out and necessary modifications will be introduced. The number of these modifications will depend on the facilities at the hotel’s disposal.

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Phase 2 – Training and Updating

The Human Resources Department of the hotel will have to search for and hire people to carry out training of the food handling personnel. The personnel’s knowledge of their obligations with respect to food hygiene will be tested. This will help to define which level of training the employees are going to need. At this phase, updating of the equipment (as well as premises) in accordance with the requirements presented by the supervisor will take place. Training of the personnel to use new equipment will be conducted if necessary.

Phase 3 – Analysis

After implementing necessary changes the analysis of the hotel’s conformity to the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and Food Safety Act 1990 will be carried out and further changes, if necessary, will be introduced.

Timeframe

The time required for the abovementioned changes is going to depend on the current conformity of the hotel to the food hygiene regulations. The maximum time taken is two months, depending on the level of training needed.

Staffing Issues

Since these changes will necessarily influence the personnel, certain staff issues should be taken into consideration when carrying out changes. Some of these issues are:

  • keeping the staff well-informed about the changes; at this, however, certain information should remain confidential;
  • trying to preserve key staff (this may be done by means of financial incentives, such as introducing bonuses or increasing payments);
  • developing staff diligence and trust to the hotel (by means of providing health insurances, for instance)
  • involving the key staff into analysis and evaluation of the hotel’s performance and conformity to food hygiene regulations (Practical advice for business 2009)

Difficulties to Be Encountered

The difficulties which the hotel business may encounter with respect to food hygiene requirements are numerous. The hotel may not have all the facilities to ensure safe storage of food (for instance, the refrigerators may be of inappropriate size or capacity or their number and varieties may be insufficient). Moreover, if it is an independent hotel, the area it occupies may be too small for the number of premises required by the food hygiene regulations. In addition, the management may find it difficult to constantly update the equipment or ensure its proper maintenance due to expenses which these processes may take. Finally, the hotel may not have enough spare money for training the employees or their regular medical examination.

Conclusion

Therefore, the hotel industry needs to pay special attention to food hygiene legislation in order to ensure proper security and safety of food products which it offers to its customers. According to Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and Food Safety Act 1990, any hotel should have adequate sanitary condition of premises where the food is stored and cooked, as well as food handling personnel should be aware of the food hygiene legislation. To help the hotel correspond to all these requirements, an implementation strategy has been designed and future plan of activities has been scheduled. If these recommendations are followed, the independent hotel under consideration will be able to meet the requirements of food hygiene and safety regulations.

References

Babcock, DW 2007, ‘It’s Not Just Montezuma’s Revenge Anymore’, Journal of Environmental Health, vol. 70, no.4, p.48.

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Booty, F 2009, Facilities management handbook, Butterworth-Heinemann, New York.

Business Link 2009, Practical Advice for Business, Business Link. Web.

Holt, J & Henson, SJ 2007, ‘Information for good hygiene practice in small businesses’, British Food Journal, vol. 102, no. 4, pp. 320-337.

Vapnek, J 2007, ‘Legislative implementation of the food chain approach’, Journal of Transnational Law, vol. 40, no. 4, p.987.

Wallin, PJ & Haycock, P 2007, Foreign body prevention, detection, and control: a practical approach: Practical approaches to food control and food quality series, Springer, London.

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