Food Hygiene in B&Bs|
B&Bs serving breakfast are classed as "food businesses" by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The rules require you to register your business - for information on how, see this FSA web page.
Food Hygiene - a training tool
A new basic on-line training tool, "Food Hygiene Training for All" has been launched on the British Hospitality Association website (December 2012).
The tool meets the requirements of EU legislation and covers a wide range of topics including an introduction to HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points), personal hygiene, safe food handling, and health and safety at work.
To launch the tool, Click here.
How to comply with Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations
from Food Solutions
Food Safety Regulations state that primary responsibility for food safety rests with the Food Business Operator - ie, you as B&B owner. So in running your business you need to fully understand Food Safety Regulations. Some Local Authorities have adopted a policy of infrequent visits to smaller businesses they consider "low risk". However, if and when you are contacted by your Local Authority you need to satisfy them that you are operating to a high standard.
Food Solutions has produced a comprehensive pack, "How to Improve your Food Hygiene Rating" that is designed to help you fully comply with food Regulations. For those of you that have been rated under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, the Pack with help you gain the highest level.
The pack normally retails at £99 but B&B Association members qualify for a special price of £75, saving £24 (24%).
If you take up the offer before the end of February 2013 it can be yours (as an Association member) for just £50, saving £49 (49%).
For more details and how to take advantage of this offer, click the document name below to open a pdf document about the offer:
Food Solutions Hygiene Pack Offer
(pdf file, 172kb, 2 pages)
Food Hygiene Ratings scheme
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a UK-wide ‘"food hygiene ratings" scheme (previously called "scores on the doors"), to provide consumers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses (including B&Bs).
For more information, go to the FSA website
The FSA also have a Frequently-Asked Questions page on Food Hygiene ratings.
Food Hygiene Rating Systems - Jan 2013 Update
(PDF file, 352kb, 6 pages)
FOOD HYGIENE for B&Bs
The food hygiene regulations applicable to B&Bs (which are classed as "food businesses" as they serve meals to customers) changed in 2006. The document below is the Food Standards Agency's official publication for food businesses:
Food Hygiene - A Guide for Businesses
(PDF file, 490kb, 32 pages)
"Barking Mad Dogs Ban" Story Goes National
The national media have taken up the cause of farmhouse B&B owners who have been told by Environmental Health Officers in some counties that they cannot allow their dogs in their breakfast room/kitchens, even when strict hygiene in food preparation is observed and pets are kept scrupulously away from food preparation surfaces, utensils and storage areas.
The Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2, and the BBC2 business TV show Working Lunch, amongst others, covered the issue. Read the story online in:
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Express
The Association's view is that B&B owners are highly responsible and very conscious of good hygiene practice (we and our families eat our own food every day, after all), and if pets are kept well away from food preparation surfaces and storage areas and food is prepared safely and hygienically, there is no need to "ban" the well-behaved family dog or cat from its place by the fireside.
The expert advice we have received is that such "bans" result from a mis-interpretation of the regulations, which are not so proscriptive, and are intended to be proportionate, workable and based on real risk.
The following formal advice on this matter comes from a senior official at the Food Standards Agency:
"Regulation (EC) 852/2004 Annex II, Chapter III, lays down rules for premises, which includes those ‘…used primarily as a private dwelling-house but where foods are regularly prepared for placing on the market..’
Paragraph 1 states that premises should be ‘..as far as is reasonably practicable, to be so sited, designed, constructed and kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition as to avoid the risk of contamination, in particular by animals and pests.’
Furthermore, Regulation (EC) 852/2004, Annex II, Chapter IX, Paragraph 4, it states that ‘..Adequate procedures are also to be in place to prevent domestic animals from having access to places where food is prepared, handled or stored (or, where the competent authority so permits in special cases, to prevent such access from resulting in contamination).'
The requirement to make and prepare food safely is with the food business concerned and it is the responsibility of the food business operator to identify any step in the activities of their operations where food hazards (including cross contamination) may occur and to ensure adequate safety procedures to control such hazards are in place.
The Agency’s view is that while the law would appear to ask food businesses to keep pets or domestic animals out of areas where food is prepared as far as possible, it would seem reasonable to allow pets into the kitchen provided that the kitchen is thoroughly cleaned before food for guests is prepared.
Certainly however pets should not be in the kitchen when food is being prepared and pets (or their feeding bowls or other equipment) should not be on work surfaces.
I should stress that the advice [above] should not be taken as an authoritative statement of the law or its interpretation. Only the courts can decide whether in particular circumstances an offence has been committed."
As you can see, the FSA official certainly does not support the "blanket ban", although he does say that "Certainly however pets should not be in the kitchen when food is being prepared" - but this view may assume that a kitchen is a distinct and separate room, rather that a room also containing a dining area.
All this is further complicated by the fact that separate (anti-discrimination) legislation requires B&B owners to accept guide dogs in their dining rooms, even if they do not otherwise allow dogs.
Email us your own views at comment@BandBassociation.org.
Registering your B&B
For information about registering your B&B with your local authority, go to the FSA website.