Food safety advice
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide food businesses operating at the Farmers’ Market with information and practical advice on how to comply with the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995, the Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995 and the Food Safety Act 1990.
These regulations are enforced by Waverley Borough Council’s environmental health officers who may visit your stall on the day the market is held.
Please read this information carefully and keep it for reference purposes. If you have any questions, use the contact details at the end of this guidance.
Controlling food hazards
Food hazards, which may affect the safety of food must be assessed. A food hazard is anything, which may cause harm to someone eating the food. Food hazards may be:
- chemical (eg cleaning materials)
- physical (eg jewellery, hair, glass, metal)
- bacterial (eg food poisoning bacteria such as salmonella)
Food hazards such as the contamination of food with dangerous bacteria and the growth of bacteria within food may occur when you handle food at any of the following stages:
To control hazards at each stage, the following simple precautions must be taken:
- All food must be wrapped, covered or placed in sealed washable containers whilst it is being transported to the market. This will prevent food from being contaminated with dirt and bacteria.
- Vehicles and containers used to transport food must be kept clean and in good repair. Food must be separated from other items being carried in the vehicle, such as cleaning materials.
- The stall or vehicle must be cleaned and where necessary, disinfected, prior to transporting foods.
- Temperature control should be considered as part of the hazard analysis requirements. Temperature control will restrict the growth of bacteria and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Generally, bacteria will not grow at temperatures below 8ºC and are generally killed by temperatures above 63ºC. Temperature conditions between 8ºC and 63ºC will usually allow bacteria to grow and should therefore be avoided.
- Some types of food must be kept cold to prevent dangerous bacteria from growing on them. These foods include:
- ◦ ripe soft or semi-hard cheeses
- ◦ other dairy products such as fromage frais, mousses, creme caramel and products containing custard or cream
- ◦ cooked products containing meat, fish, eggs, milk, soft cheeses and vegetables, e.g. pate smoked or cured fish
- ◦ smoked or cured ready to eat meat, e.g. salami, cured ham and fermented sausages
- ◦ prepared ready to eat foods, e.g. salads, coleslaw, mayonnaise and sandwiches
- ◦ uncooked or partly cooked pastry and dough products, e.g. pizzas and sausage rolls shellfish such as oysters
- ◦ any other food which is likely to support the growth of harmful bacteria.
- All of these foods must be kept at or below 8ºC during transport, preparation and display for sale unless they are sold within four hours. Once food has been out of temperature control for more than four hours it must be stored at 8ºC or below or discarded.
- Temperature control can be achieved using refrigerated vehicles or insulated containers with ice packs.
- Because temperature control is critical for the safety of food, thermometers or equipment with a temperature display must be available to monitor temperatures.
- Raw food does not need to be kept at 8ºC or below as it will be cooked before consumption. However, it is good practice to keep all meat and fish chilled to reduce the growth of food spoilage organisms and to preserve the quality of the food.
- Where unwrapped food of the types listed above are to be prepared or handled, you must make regular and frequent use of a wash hand basin with hot and cold water, soap and hand drying facilities. It is recommended that you use anti-bacterial soap and disposable paper towels.
- You will need an adequate supply of portable water (i.e. drinking water from the mains) for cleaning your hands, equipment and food where necessary. If a mains water supply is not available, you will need to bring clean disinfected containers for storing as much drinking water as you will need at your market stall. It is recommended that you provide nine litres of mains water per person working on the stall/vehicle.
- You must ensure that the food preparation area is large enough for the type of food preparation being carried out. There must be sufficient working surfaces for the separate preparation of raw and cooked products. This will reduce the risk of cross contamination.
- Surfaces and equipment, which comes into contact with food must be kept clean and disinfected. You must bring a suitable food grade disinfectant with you.
- Encourage staff to use a ‘clean as you go’ rule.
- Everyone handling unwrapped foods of the types listed must wear clean protective over clothing, such as aprons, coats or jackets. It is recommended that some form of head covering is worn, with long hair tied back.
- Staff who handle or prepare foods of the types listed should not travel to the market in their protective clothing. They should remove their protective clothing if they leave the stall/vehicle (for example, during breaks or whilst using the toilet.)
- Smoking at your food stall is prohibited. Please make sure that you leave the stall if you wish to smoke and wash your hands thoroughly before handling food again.
- You will need to bring suitable bags or bins for the collection of food waste and other rubbish. Waste must not be allowed to attract pests.
- Food must not be placed on the ground. It is recommended that food is placed a minimum height of 45 cm off the ground. Unwrapped food must be placed out of reach of customers and protected from contamination by providing a cover over the top, back and sides of the vehicle/stall.
- Food of the types listed must be displayed at or below 8ºC unless they are sold within four hours. To help you achieve temperature control, you must have good management of the food displays. For example:
◦ the amount of food on display should be kept to a minimum.
◦ good stock rotation is essential when re-stocking displays to ensure ‘older’ food is moved to the top of the pile.
◦ avoiding topping up ‘bulk’ displays as food on the bottom may be left for longer than four hours.
◦ you must make every effort to ensure food listed is outside of temperature control for as short a period as possible.
- Raw and cooked/ready to eat foods must be stored and displayed separately, unless they are wrapped so as to prevent cross contamination.
- Any ice that will come into contact with food and drink must be made from mains water.
- Food that has been cooked must be kept at or above 63ºC. To ensure thorough cooking, a probe thermometer or a cooks thermometer, may be used to check core temperatures on completion of cooking. Core temperatures should be at least 75ºC. Thermometers inserted into food must be disinfected before and after use.
- Hot food can be kept for service on display at temperatures below 63ºC for a single period of up to two hours. At the end of this period food must be cooled and stored at less than 8ºC or it must be stored at a temperature above 63ºC or it must be discarded.
- Company details must appear on the stall/vehicle. You should provide an address and/or a telephone number.
- You should avoid directly handling unwrapped food when serving customers. Spoons, tongs, plastic wrapping or disposable gloves can be used to prevent hands from coming into direct contact with food. It is essential that equipment and hands are kept clean.
- All red meat must have been inspected and stamped as fit for human consumption.
- Dairy products must carry a health mark consisting of an oval surround containing the letters ‘UK’ followed by an approval number of the dairy and the letters ‘EEC’.
- Raw milk must be labelled with the words ‘raw milk’ and milk based products manufactured from raw milk must be labelled with the words ‘made with raw milk.
Food hygiene training
- Everyone handling food must understand and follow the basic principles of food hygiene:
◦ keep yourself clean and wear clean protective clothing
◦ always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food, after using the toilet, handling raw food or waste and after every break
◦ if you have a skin, nose, throat, stomach or bowel trouble or infected wound, you must not handle unwrapped food
◦ ensure that spots, cuts and sores are covered with waterproof plasters
◦ avoid unnecessary handling of food
◦ do not smoke, eat or drink where open food is handled
◦ clean as you go – keep all equipment and surfaces clean
◦ do not wear jewellery, nail varnish or false nails as these may enter and contaminate food. Plain wedding bands and sleepers in pierced ears are acceptable.
Fitness to work
- Food handlers must not handle food whilst suffering from a communicable illness, such as diarrhoea and vomiting.
- The Department of Health recommend that food handlers suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting should not handle food unless they have been symptom free for at least 48 hours. On return to work, staff must practice good personal hygiene.
- You should ensure staff are aware they must report symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting to you.
- If you are ever in any doubt about a food handlers fitness to work, advice should be sought from a doctor or from Waverley Borough Council’s environmental health officers.
- Your market stall/vehicle may be visited to ensure that you are following the requirements laid out in this guidance. Serious breaches of these hygiene rules may prevent you from attending future market events.
- If you intend to set up a stall, we would welcome you to contact us to discuss any further details. To obtain further information and advice, please refer to the contact details on this page.
- These guidelines have been prepared to assist the traders wishing to participate in the Farmers’ Market. It is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and it is intended only for guidance.
Image © David Fisher