Food business and hygiene

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Starting a food business

If you are intending to start a new food business there are several requirements that you should consider before the operation starts. These include:

  • Registration with Tewkesbury Borough Council as a food business operator

  • Implementation of documented food safety management procedures

  • Food hygiene training for relevant staff

Food business registration

Legislation requires all food business operators to register with the local authority at least 28 days before the business starts trading.

Registration is free and you can register a business online at: application for the registration of a food business establishment.

Alternatively a form can be downloaded and once completed emailed to or posted to Environmental Health, Tewkesbury Borough Council, Public Services Centre, Gloucester Road, Tewkesbury, GL20 5TT.

Food safety management system

It is now a legal requirement that food business operators put in place documented food safety management procedures which are based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point).

The Food Standards Agency has produced a free pack called Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) which if used effectively can assist food businesses to comply with this requirement.

The pack is free of charge and can be downloaded at Food Standards Agency or can be ordered by calling the Food Standards Agency on 0845 606 0667.

Food hygiene inspections

Officers from our Food Safety team conduct inspections of food businesses to establish compliance with food hygiene legislation. More information regarding what to expect during a food hygiene inspection and the powers available to officers can also be found at the web site.

Food hygiene training

It is a legal requirement that food handlers are either instructed, supervised and/or trained in food hygiene matters to a level appropriate to their work activity.

The training section of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) web site provides details of food hygiene courses and has a facility to search for local registered food hygiene trainers.

Food hygiene rating scheme

The FHRS is an initiative which provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses at the time they are inspected. The main purpose of the scheme is to allow consumers to make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food.

Following an unannounced inspection the business is scored on the following elements.

  • Level of compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures (including food handling practices, procedures to prevent cross contamination, and temperature control)

  • Level of compliance with structural requirements (including cleanliness, layout, condition of work, wall and floor surfaces as well as standards of lighting and ventilation)

  • Confidence in management -including the use of appropriate documented food safety management procedures as well as the level of staff training, instruction and supervision

The total of the three scores is then converted into an overall rating which can range from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good).

How do I check a food businesses hygiene rating?

Food hygiene ratings for all businesses included in the scheme are published on-line at the food hygiene ratings website.

Safeguards for businesses

In order to ensure that the scheme is fair to businesses it has been designed to include a number of safeguards. There is an appeals procedures, a right to reply procedure and also an opportunity for a business to request a re-visit when improvements have been made.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning refers to an acute, unpleasant illness caused by the consumption of contaminated food. The nature and severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the bacteria involved but can typically include diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal cramps which can last from a few hours to several weeks.

What do I do if I think I have food poisoning?

If you think that you have food poisoning then you can contact us directly but we would also strongly recommend that you consult your GP for advice. Your GP may decide whether it is necessary for you to provide a sample in order to try and establish the particular type of bacteria which is causing your illness.

In circumstances where a GP diagnoses that an individual is suffering from food poisoning then both the Health Protection Agency and the local authority will normally be notified confidentially. Having received notification, officers from our Environmental Health team may decide to investigate the case in order to try to establish the source of the illness and whether there is a risk of any further spread in the community. Therefore in the event that we are notified that you may have been suffering from food poisoning, an officer may contact you to go through a short questionnaire.

Information on some of the common food poisoning causing bacteria and simple steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of getting food poisoning can be downloaded here.

Food complaints

What types of complaint can we investigate?

Officers from our food safety team can investigate complaints regarding unfit or unsafe food which has been purchased within the Tewkesbury Borough area. Examples of the types of complaint we investigate include:

  • Foreign body contamination of products, eg by insects, metal or plastic items

  • Products which appear visibly unfit, eg mouldy bread, rotten or foul smelling meat and fish products

We do not investigate complaints relating to food labelling such as use by or best before dates, or matters relating to food pricing and quantity. Concerns regarding these matters should be addressed to the Food Standards team at Gloucestershire Trading Standards.

Our priority is protecting public health and so we cannot act on your behalf to claim compensation. You may seek independent advice if you wish to pursue this type of action.

How do I make a complaint?

How long will the investigation take?

The timeframe for investigating food complaints can vary from a few days to many months depending on the nature of the complaint. At the end of the investigation we will contact the complainant to inform them of the outcome of the investigation. 

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