When it comes to eating out in Jersey – from a beach café to a Michelin-starred restaurant – stars now matter.
Since last October, the States have been busy inspecting all food businesses to assess the condition of the premises, how hygienically food is handled and how well food safety is managed and documented. Each organisation has been given a rating from an ‘excellent’ (five stars) to a ‘very poor’ (no stars).
We ran a free online clinic on Monday 29 June 2015. The session was designed to give the opportunity to ask our team of experts any questions on the States’ Eat Safe Scheme and/or food safety generally. This was a great way for us to interact with those who may be unsure about what the star system means or how they can improve their rating. Whether working in a bar, restaurant, café, takeaway, hotel or for a food wholesaler, participants just needed to ask questions on either Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin and use the the hashtag #asklaw.
Some of the questions asked:
Question: What are the most common mistakes usually made in kitchens?
Answer: Various factors will mean that a good rating isn’t achieved. These include not applying training, cross contamination of food, poor cleaning procedures, poor personal hygiene and not reacting to temperature variations.
Question: When organising a event with food stalls with independent food vendors who is responsible for the food safety?
Answer: Each independent food stall is responsible for their own food safety.
Question: Will small coffee shops in charity outlets receive an inspection?
Answer: Possibly, it depends on what is being sold. If it’s homemade cakes, jacket potatoes, etc, then yes. If just tea and coffee, then no.
Question: We have 4 stars, do you know what we have to do to gain that magical 5th?
Answer: It could be numerous issues including the depth of your record keeping, the level of training (i.e. no Level 3 or 4 Food Safety training), lack of detail on procedures or something you’re missing, such as a damaged wall tile.
Question: Does Guernsey has a similar scheme in place?
Answer: Yes, Guernsey has had the Food Hygiene Information Scheme since 2014. As in Jersey, Environmental Health Officers give food businesses a hygiene score at routine food hygiene inspections and visits. The star ratings allow consumers to make informed choices. You can find out more about the scheme in Guernsey by clicking here: www.gov.gg/fhis
So, all of a sudden, stars are important. Three stars mean that you simply comply with the law – it is the bare minimum – but if we ran a café or restaurant, we’d want to get as many as we could. But would you want to wait for a States inspector to come along unannounced or would you prefer if a friendly face, who was a qualified food safety specialist and knew exactly what the criteria was, came in and offered you some advice on how to get those all-important stars? That is where Law At Work can help.
How we can help
Remember, you can have the cleanest and newest kitchen but if your staff don’t know enough about basic hygiene, then you are going to suffer. We can be that friendly face who will ensure you meet the highest standards, visiting you before the inspector does.
– Online Training
Getting everyone together at the same time can be a real headache, and so can losing staff while they go on a course. Perhaps not everyone’s English is good enough to understand all the terminology. We have launched online training in English, Portuguese and Polish so staff can train wherever and whenever. It will take staff through exactly the same course as they would get in a classroom and there are online tests to check understanding.
– Face-to-face Training
If you prefer traditional classroom-based training, or would like a blend of online and face-to-face training, we can also provide this.
Our online training is fully accredited and tailored to Jersey laws and standards. Each module costs £15 per person and can be completed in under an hour each.
If you would like us to support you in achieving a high rating for the Eat Safe Scheme and/or food safety generally, then email us on email@example.com or call us on 01534 887088.