My hands were clammy. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights and I was just not sure what I should do or what I should say. What’s that got to do with food safety? Read on!
I had been working part time for a friend’s family business, a café. I started off pot washing, then progressed to making drinks, then waiting on tables and ultimately cooking in the kitchen. This was all good, I enjoyed the whole experience and the money it put in my pocket.
So far, so good. This was the early 1980’s.
The owner decided they needed a holiday and put me in charge. I was elated! What a feeling! This was my opportunity to shine.
Then, whilst they were away the Environmental Health Officer arrived.
Do you the remember the episode of Fawlty Towers with the Health Inspector? Fortunately, I didn’t have a ‘Siberian Hamster’ on the loose to contend with, but rabbit in the headlights was definitely me.
What happened next?
I agreed that the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) could carry out their inspection, but I was panicking. Big time.
I didn’t know what would happen or what to say.
That day I was lucky! The EHO found a couple of pieces of chipped crockery. Into the bin they went.
Phew! And breathe!
I did learn that we should be keeping records. Not just financial records, but records of the temperatures of deliveries, the temperatures of cooking, fridge temperatures, too. Who knew?
I certainly didn’t, because I hadn’t had any training.
In hindsight, training would have given me the confidence to know what was expected and how to deal with it. Training would have given me the procedures to follow (and understanding why they were important.) I would have learned what the regulations are that I was required to follow.
Alimenti Food Sciences Ltd, was set up after many years of working in food safety and compliance in the food industry. My name is Louise. Yes, that’s me looking shocked earlier. One of the businesses that I worked for is one of the world’s largest food services company where I was responsible for all the food and drink that the company sourced, in the UK and Ireland. I was responsible for making sure it was the quality we were expecting, and it was safe and legal. I managed audits, and chaired quality panels. However, my favourite part was liaising with the producers, I worked with small, independent, artisan suppliers through to mega multinational manufacturers.
One of the reasons I set up my business is to ensure that no-one needs to feel the way I did when the EHO came to inspect. The support I offer food producers means that they have all the information and resources at their fingertips so they can sleep at night and they aren’t lying awake in the small hours, worried about food safety and compliance.
Is this you?
If so, at the beginning of December 2020, I’m launching a yearly subscription to a password-protected, online hub of generic documentation that has been approved by Worcestershire Regulatory Services. It will be updated when legislation changes.
If this is of interest, please get on the waiting list here, to find out about launch offers.
I’m here to help!