The primary aim of food hygiene guidelines in school is to offer a nationwide set of rules to stop food from becoming contaminated and causing food poisoning.
Critical elements of food hygiene include:
- Cross-contamination prevention – This includes avoiding allergenic, physical, chemical, and bacterial contamination, notably by using equipment such as colour-coded chopping boards, knives, and cleaning surfaces thoroughly.
- Personal hygiene – Including illness procedures, appropriate protective clothing, and adherence to regular hand washing guidelines.
- Cleaning procedures – Meticulous cleaning of all kitchen equipment, surfaces, and kitchenware is essential.
- Allergen awareness and control – All school staff, working with food, must be aware of what the 14 different food allergens are and must prevent allergens from cross-contamination at all times.
- Cooking temperatures – School kitchens must ensure that all food is cooked and stored at appropriate temperatures to prevent the risk of bacteria growth and contamination.
- Safe storage of food – This involves appropriate labelling/dating of food items, temperature control, storage locations, and containers.
Any member of staff that works with food in our schools holds a Food Safety & Hygiene Certificate. The level of certification required by law depends on the duties relating to their role and how much involvement they have in the process of food preparation. In some instances, a more comprehensive understanding and certification in food safety may be obligatory.