Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 – Understanding Your Duties

by | Apr 13, 2018 | food safety |

The need-to-know info

Amidst the bustle of daily work life the legalities of managing food safety can sometimes be forgotten. You have people to manage, customers to serve, resources and budgets to allocate, and all the rest of it. But you also know you have legal responsibilities for food safety. And the food hygiene regulations 2006 are a big fish to fry – a huge and very important fish – the whale of food safety legislation.

But at the end of a long day of sore feet and high stress, going over mind-bending legal stuff can seem like a step too far.

So, to keep things concise, this blog post will summarise the food hygiene regulations 2006, providing an overview of your main duties and need-to-know info.

What the law says

The food hygiene regulations 2006 are divided between England and Scotland. The differences between the two will be discussed later in this post. For the benefit of this document we will discuss the particulars of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.

First things first. What do these regulations cover? Below, we’ve listed the most noteworthy points from of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006. They can be broken down into:

  • Your requirements as a food business operator;
  • Offences and enforcement;
  • Temperature control requirements;
  • Producers of meat slaughtered on the farm;
  • Restrictions on the sale of raw milk;
  • Transportation by sea of liquid oils, fats, or raw sugar.
what the law says about food hygiene regulations 2006
Find a full breakdown of the regulations here, but be warned, it’s heavy reading! Alternatively, if you have a query concerning any of the legislation referenced in this blog post, please do contact us for advice or support.

Why are the food hygiene regulations 2006 so important?

You, as a food business operator, need to know your responsibilities for food safety. Not only does this ensure that you comply with your legal obligations, but it also gives you a good defence should you be prosecuted. Provided you can prove you’ve adhered to your duties, of course.

Underpinning the daily activities of everybody in your establishment are the food hygiene regulations 2006. Anyone that handles or comes into contact with food meant for human consumption is covered under it’s legal umbrella.

These regulations also put requirements on you to ensure that the establishments from which you source your food comply with food hygiene regulations. Even vending machines don’t escape the reach of the law.

Regardless of your type of food business – retail, food manufacturing, restaurant, or occasional-cake-baker-from-home-that-sells-to-the-public – the food hygiene regulations 2006 are relevant to you. In particular, European regulation 852/2004.

Your duties as a food business operator

You are the person responsible for all of these legal headaches, so here’s a summary of your duties:

Responsibility – the food business operator (you, as manager, owner, etc) maintains responsibility for food safety. It is this role that would be liable for prosecution if mistakes are made.

HACCP management systems – Create and maintain a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) management system relevant to your business. This is a set of procedures which covers all of your food safety activities and ensures that you comply with all relevant food safety regulations. If you’re having trouble with HACCP systems feel free to contact us for advice and support.

Traceability – Do you know where the food you handle comes from? Can you trace it throughout the entirety of its journey, and ensure that every step of the way food hygiene standards have been maintained?

Hygiene – basic hygiene requirements must be applied, especially for specified categories of food.

Approvals – certain food establishments must be registered and/or approved. More on this here. https://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/approved-premises-official-controls/sectorrules

Evidence – maintain written records and documentation that prove your legal compliance. These may be requested by authorities. And must be kept for an appropriate period.

Authorities – notify authorities of all food business establishments under your control, and always provide up to date information on each. You must cooperate with all authorities.
Water – don’t use anything other than clean water to clean products of animal origin unless that substance has been approved.

Offences and enforcement

Below are some details on the powers of enforcement officers, and what to expect if prosecuted.

Samples – authorised officers may purchase or take a sample of any food, substance or contact material on the premises. That sample can be sent for analysis if deemed necessary.

Powers of entry – an authorised officer can enter any premises at any reasonable hour (24-hour notice must be provided for private domestic dwellings). The authorised officer must not be obstructed.

Notices – If an enforcement officer has concerns over compliance they may issue you with an ‘improvements notice’ which you must comply with.

Prosecution – Any failure to comply with your duties under the food hygiene regulations 2006 is an offence and could result in a fine or imprisonment. Liability lies with company directors, managers, or any other persons of responsibility. If prosecuted, a food business operator can be served with a ‘prohibition order’.

offences and enforcement under the food hygiene regulations 2006

Temperature control requirements

Temperature control relates to the way you manage the conditions in which bacteria can grow. Failure to do this properly can lead to food poisoning. You have requirements to perform hourly checks and keep suitable records.

If you don’t manage the temperatures of food on your premises properly, whether through lack of knowledge or time and resource constraints, you are leaving yourself wide open to prosecution.

This section refers to specific temperature brackets and timescales for storage at hot, cold and ambient temperatures. As such, we really would advise that you seek advice or get some training for food hygiene if you are unsure of your legal requirements for managing these conditions.

Contact us today for advice or guidance. We can point you in the direction of an appropriate training course which covers temperature control, or advise of consultancy support options and costs.

If you’re on a mobile device, why not call us now?

Producers of meat slaughtered on the farm

If you are a small meat production facility, your main duties under this schedule of the food hygiene regulations 2006 are below. If your food business uses fresh meat suppliers – for example sourcing meat from local farms (hats off to you!) – ensure that those suppliers can provide the following:

Packaging – should display the name and address of the farm where the animal was slaughtered.

Records – The producer should keep records of animal quantities received into and fresh meat dispatched from the premises.

In addition to this, they should be able to show general food hygiene regulation compliance.

meat food hygiene regulations 2006
meat pork food hygiene regulations 2006
meat poultry food hygiene regulations 2006

Restrictions on the sale of raw milk

The sale of raw, un-pasteurised milk intended for direct human consumption is an offence. Raw milk may be seen in some circles as an organic superfood or detoxing dietary fad, but contaminated dairy products can lead to serious illness. Hence the imposed restrictions.

Food hygiene regulations 2006 for Scotland – what’s different?

Need to know the Scottish variant of the food hygiene regulations 2006? View it here.

How to implement this information

A good place to start is a training course, as previously mentioned.

Putting together or checking the soundness of your HACCP management system is possibly the most important go to action from here. It analyses the risks and activities undertaken in your food business and breaks up food safety management into manageable chunks.

Of course, familiarising yourself with your duties as a food business operator is a must. See how we can help you with your food safety management.

how to implement food hygiene regulations