Before taking any further steps, contact the Planning Department to ensure that you do not require planning permission for the type of food business you intend to operate from the premise.
tel: 01375 652291
If you intend to make any structural, plumbing, electrical alterations etc. contact Building Control to discuss any building regulations.
tel: 01375 652289/652056
For information on Food hygiene matters, please continue to read on, and follow the relevant links on the left hand side of the page. For further information there are a number of Food Standard Agency (FSA) publications that you might find helpful (and are free). These include:
These can be ordered from Food Standards Agency Publications.
tel: 0845 606 0667
Please check the Licensing & Registration section of the council's web site to see if you are required to have a late night refreshment licence.
Register your food business at least 28 days before opening. There is no charge for registration, but it is a legal requirement that you complete the form and notify the food team that you intend to operate a food business.
You may contact the food team directly for a registration form to be sent to you, or you may download the form from the Food Safety page complete it and return it to the food team at the address above.
It is the close examination of your food business operations, in which you must identify all the things in your food operation that might go wrong (Hazards) that may result in food poisoning or injury (e.g. the transfer of bacteria from one food to another, the growth of bacteria in food due to poor temperature control or the presence of foreign material such as dust, flies, glass in food). You then must decide how you are going to control your business to prevent the hazards from causing unsafe food and how you are going to monitor these controls.
This has been a legal requirement for sometime, however new legislation that came into force January 2006 now requires you to have a documented system. Therefore, you must write down simple details of what you will do and what records you will keep to make sure the food is safe to eat.
In order to comply I recommend that you follow the guidance issued by the Food Standards Agency "Safer Food Better Business" (SFBB), which will guide you through how to comply and provide the necessary documentation. To obtain the SFBB pack, you can collect one directly from Thurrock Council (although it is best to telephone the food team beforehand to ensure that one can be left out for you). You can also obtain them from the Food Standards Agency:
tel: 0845 606 0667
web: www.food.gov.uk (the "Safer Food Better Business" link).
You must have a fully documented Hazard Analysis system in place, detailing what you do and what controls you have in place to prevent hazards from occurring. The controls must be monitored to ensure that they are working effectively.
On our visit to your premises in operation we shall expect to see documentation that is relevant to your food business in the following areas:
Remember if you change the way in which you do something or introduce a new product, this must be written into your documented system.
All food businesses in the borough are inspected on a regular basis to ensure that the food sold to the public is safe to consume. The frequency of these inspections depends upon the potential risk posed by the type of business and its previous record. Some premises might be inspected at least every six months, others less often.
The purpose of an inspection is:
Inspectors will look at the operation of a food business to identify potential hazards and to ensure they are following the law. One of the first things to looked at will be your documented Hazard Analysis System.
If problems are identified during the inspection, inspectors can take enforcement action to protect the public. This can include:
If a prosecution is successful, the court may prohibit the business from using certain processes, premises or equipment, or the offender could be banned from managing a food business. It could also lead to a fine or imprisonment.
In order to be able to undertake your hazard analysis effectively, you will need as a minimum the level of knowledge contained in the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene.
You will find some very useful leaflets on the Trading Standards Institute website
Staff who handle food must receive written or verbal instructions in the essentials of food hygiene before starting work. This should cover:
Staff who prepare open high risk foods, or handle foods and have a supervisory role, must have training to a level equivalent to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene within three months of starting work. This is a six hour course followed by a short multiple choice paper and you will be provided with an accredited certificate on successful completion of the exam.
A local trainer for the above course is:
Other accredited courses are run by the:
These organisations can also provide details of trainers who run courses in languages other than English.
You are advised to keep records of training completed by members of your staff. Written evidence of hygiene training may be very important in demonstrating compliance with the requirements. You can download examples of record sheets from this site.
Examples of this include: pieces of glass, plastic, metal, insects or sometimes unidentifiable matter found in the food.
You have several choices; you can:
You will need to protect the food from further contamination, by carefully wrapping it and storing it under suitable temperature control (i.e. if it is a food which will deteriorate at room temperatures, keep it chilled in your fridge; if the food is frozen, keep it frozen.) Telephone the food team as soon as possible, leaving your name, address and contact telephone number and we will contact you as soon as possible. If you believe that the food has made you ill, we may well require a faecal sample from you and will provide you with the necessary pot and form. We will need as much information as you can recall on where and when the food was bought, when and how the defect was found etc. We will arrange collection of the food and will also need the receipt and packaging wherever possible.
We investigate to find out if the manufacturer or retailer has been negligent or should have foreseen the matter and to prevent future occurrences. We cannot arrange compensation for the purchaser, as this is a civil matter between the complainant and supplier/manufacturer of the food.
You should contact your G.P. as soon as possible and let him/her know that you think your illness may be associated with food, so that you can receive appropriate advice and, if necessary, treatment. Then contact the food team. Let us know where you have eaten and what and when you started to become unwell. Please try to remember food eaten for several days before you became ill, as some food poisoning organisms have a long incubation time. Remember the cause of your illness is often NOT the last food you ate! Let us know if any of your friends or family, who have eaten with you, have also been unwell.
If you work in a food business, you should not handle open food for at least 48 hours after your last bout of sickness or diarrhoea. You should also contact the food team to discuss when it would be safe for you to return to handling food. Your employer may choose to move you to alternative duties.
For further information, please download our general food poisoning leaflet.