News
for the month of December, 2012

Food Safety Authority closes six restaurants

7th of December 2012

Six closure orders have been served on food business by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), for breaches of food safety legislation.

The closure orders were served on the prestigious Ivory Tower restaurant on Princes Street in Cork, the Gong Chinese Restaurant, in Stillorgan, in Dublin, and the Orient Aroma Chinese Restaurant, in Westport Co Mayo.

The Royal Hotel, in Boyle, Co Roscommon, the Papa Sorrento in Finglas in Dublin and Halal Favourite Fried Chicken, on Clanbrassil Street Upper, in Dublin were also shutdown.

The FSAI has urged all food service outlets to pay particular attention to food storage and refridgeration facilities during the busy Christmas period.

“Food service outlets will be working to full capacity to cope with the demand of Christmas functions and we urge food businesses to continue to produce safe food and not to cut corners to facilitate extra demand,” said Prof Alan Reilly, chief executive, FSAI.

“Food businesses should take full advantage of the information and support made available by the FSAI and its official agencies to ensure a basic and consistent food safety management plan is being followed.

“Particular attention should be paid to food storage and refrigeration facilities, as stockpiling for the festive season can mean that a premises is holding a higher quantity of perishable foods than at any other time of the year.

Brazilian football legend is victim of food poisoning

7th of December 2012

I woke up this morning to hear that one of my great footballing heroes, Socrates, has died aged just 57 years. Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, to give him his full name, was the captain of one of the great Brazilian sides and he played his football with style and intelligence. For him, football was an art – rather different from the modern midfield machines!

I understand that he had underlying gastrointestinal problems, but that he was admitted to hospital with food poisoning – a poignant reminder of the importance of good food hygiene, especially for the sick and vulnerable. He brought pleasure and inspiration to many – may he rest in peace.

Posted by Andrew Wadge

To see full blog

What are you serving up this Christmas and New Year period? How about a nice dose of salmonella to go with the roast turkey? Or maybe some listeria will help top off that cheese platter

8th of December 2012

A Beverly based training company is embarking on its annual festive food safety awareness campaign.

During 2010, there were almost 84,560 cases of food poisoning in England and Wales. (NHS Choices)

However, the actual figure is probably considerably higher than this because many people with mild symptoms do not report them.

It is suggested that people are particularly vulnerable during the Christmas and New Year period.

Steve Naldrett, director of Beverley based, Ardan Training Consultancy Limited suggests “That during the Christmas and New Year period, we are not only entertaining friends, it’s also when we are most likely to have a multi-generational family event.

“There are generally larger quantities of high risk foods around, the fridge is being opened all the time and there is generally not enough room in the fridge, so you risk leaving things out.”

Steve says “Combining all these factors, you have a setting ripe for food poisoning. Especially when you consider you have the most vulnerable groups, the elderly and very young, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems joining you for a meal.”

It’s a warning which is issued each Christmas, but it is all too often ignored, especially when there are other stresses to worry about.

The symptoms of food poisoning usually begin one to three days after eating contaminated food. They include:

  • feeling sick
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps

Prevention

Run your kitchen like a well run restaurant, where you have things happening in the proper order.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says that a useful way of preventing food poisoning is to remember the four Cs:

  • cleaning
  • cooking
  • chilling
  • avoiding cross-contamination

Make sure you:-

  • Wash your chopping boards and food preparation surfaces, sanitise and dry them properly.
  • Wash your hands regularly; don’t just wipe them on a tea towel.
  • Don’t prepare your salads or vegetables while you are preparing meat.
  • Don’t prepare to far in advance
  • Keep your cold food cold and your hot food hot.

Foods to watch

  • Seafood – after two hours out of the fridge, it really should go.
  • Poultry, especially chicken and turkey – cook until there is no pink and the juices run clear, make sure it is not left out raw for long periods and once cooked, keep it safely. It can be re-heated once.
  • Other meats – two hours out is the maximum, after that you are risking bacterial infection.
  • Tiramisu and other dairy/raw eggs desserts – keep refrigerated and covered. Don’t allow cross contamination with meats. They have a very short shelf life. Same goes for the cream you might serve with cakes/puddings.
  • Home made dips – same story as the dairy desserts.
  • Soft cheeses – Brie, Camembert etc. These cannot be left out very long. If there are people from the vulnerable groups present, might be best left off the menu.
  • Salads – ensure they have been kept free of all meat residue and juices, and wash well. Keep lettuces, baby spinach etc, well away from poultry while refrigerating and preparing.

Rules of thumb

  • Two hours un-refrigerated is generally OK in a reasonably cool room.
  • Two to four hours un-refrigerated, you are increasing the risk of food poisoning – especially if the food was not very fresh when first served, contains dairy or raw eggs or has been exposed to heat sources, like central heating.
  • Four or more hours un-refrigerated – throw it out.

Office Parties

Not only are we at risk in the home we are also at risk when we attend all the extra Christmas parties.

Steve said “With all the extra office parties in the run up to Christmas, people find themselves eating an increased amount of buffet foods, it is vital that party organisers and suppliers take all reasonable steps to protect the health of the partygoers”

Steve went on to say “Organisers need to ensure they are purchasing their buffets from reputable companies who can prove that they have staff that are well trained and will ensure that all food is prepared, stored and served safely”

Some of the tips that Steve suggests to ensure you avoid food poisoning this Christmas:

  • Ensure your suppliers have trained all their staff. Industry standards say Training certificates should not be more than 3 years old.
  • Have they trained their temporary staff?
  • Use a reputable supplier; ask to see their food hygiene certificates.
  • If there is a “Score on the Door” system in place see what your supplier scored on their last hygiene audit. For Hull use the following  – www.hullcc.gov.uk
  • Make sure buffets are stored at the correct temperature, under 8°C for chilled products and above 63°C for hot products.
  • All buffets should be transported in clean temperature-controlled vehicles
  • All utensils, surfaces and equipment should be clean and disinfected.
  • Buffets should only be out of these temperatures for a minimum amount of time before being consumed.
  • Serving tongs and spoons should be used to avoid cross contamination from unwashed hands.
  • Use serving spoons for dips to avoid cross contamination from saliva.
  • Peanuts and Crisps are a trap for bacteria as people use their hands to serve themselves. (How many people do you observe not washing their hands?)
  • Be careful about taking “Doggy bags” home, unless you store them at the correct temperature
  • Do not eat leftover buffet items at the end of the night if have not been stored at the correct temperature, they could be contaminated with food poisoning bacteria.

Ardan training, who deliver food hygiene training to companies in the Hull and the East Riding are able to offer advice through their websitewww.ardantraining.co.uk on the topic of keeping food safe this Christmas. Why not phone Steve directly on 07967 104042.

AGENCY UPDATES ANSWERS ON CROSS-CONTAMINATION CONTROL

9th of December 2012

The Food Standards Agency has published the second edition of the Q&A on its guidance document ‘E.coli O157: control of cross-contamination’.

To read the article

Birmingham City Council seeks to limit number of fast food outlets

10th of December 2012

Birmingham City Council is the latest Local Planning Authority to publish a development plan document seeking to limit the number of fast food outlets (Use Class A5) allowed in local shopping areas.

The Council is currently consulting on its Shopping & Local Centres Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which proposes maximum levels for non-retail units and fast food outlets within its town, district and neighbourhood centres. The proposed restrictions are sought to maintain the main shopping function of these centres’ prime shopping areas by encouraging retail uses. The Council accepts that some non-retail uses are acceptable in these locations providing there is an ‘appropriate balance’ between retail and non-retail uses.

Full Story

Alcohol licencing courses now offered

10th of December 2012

Ardan Training is pleased to announce that we can now deliver the Level 2 Award for Personal licence Holders (APLH) and the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SCPLH)

Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders

The law requires alcohol sales on licensed premises to be made or authorised by a personal licence holder. Individuals applying for a personal licence must hold an accredited licensing qualification such as the HABC Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH).

The qualification is accredited by both Ofqual and the Home Office, and has been designed to meet the statutory requirements of the Licensing Act 2003. Furthermore, whilst comprehensively covering the full framework as set down by the Government, the HABC PLH qualification is extremely straight-forward, user-friendly and free from unnecessary jargon.

The aim of the HABC PLH qualification is to provide candidates with essential knowledge of the legal framework surrounding the sale of alcohol in England and Wales. This includes key information on the responsibilities of personal licence holders, duties of the Designated Premises Supervisor, the role of licensing authorities and police powers regarding licensed premises.

Achievement of the qualification forms an essential part of the personal licence application and will enable those selling or authorising alcohol sales to operate both legally and responsibly.

HABC Award for Scottish Personal Licence Holders.

The HABC Award for Scottish Personal Licence Holders (On and Off Sales) is a qualification aimed at anyone working in or preparing to work in any industry that involves the retail sale of alcohol. It is a pre requisite for anyone who wishes to hold a personal licence.

The qualification is based on the training specification drawn up by the National Licensing Forum for those involved in the retail sale of alcohol (on and off sales) This specification enables learners to meet the requirements of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

Persons gaining this qualification will be aware of the requirements of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the specific duties of a personal licence holder in relation to the law. It is a legal requirement for anyone wishing to sell or authorise the sale of alcohol by retail to be a personal licence holder, this includes persons who have been made responsible for authorising the retail sale of alcohol within licensed retail premises on a temporary basis.

For further details please contact Steve on 07967104042 our through ou contact us page

EHOs witness owner killing rat

11th of December 2012

A restaurant owner who trod on a rat in front of ‘horrified’ EHOs during an inspection has been prosecuted for a ‘catalogue’ of food safety and trading standards offences.

The officers said they had never seen this kind of behaviour before.

Rajakumar Rajalingam, who runs Chutney Express in Tooting High Street, was given fines and costs totalling nearly £20,000 at Kingston Crown Court.

Mr Rajalingam was using a business unit in Bickersteth Road to cook and prepare dishes for his food outlet.

During a visit to the Bickersteth Road premises EHOs discovered a ‘serious rodent infestation’, with numerous rat and mouse droppings visible in food preparation areas.

Rats were able to get into the filthy kitchen through an open and uncovered drain located beneath a washing up sink. Numerous rodent droppings were found on shelves where food was being stored where gnawed chicken bones were also discovered.

While the officers were speaking to him about the poor state of hygiene and cleanliness in his kitchen a rat suddenly appeared – and was killed by Mr Rajalingam.

Mr Rajalingam pleaded guilty three food safety offences on behalf of New Chutney Express Ltd. He was fined £10,000 and he was ordered to pay £4,055 towards the council’s prosecution costs.

He was also sentenced at the same time for selling counterfeit goods at his general store at 66 Tooting High Street. He was fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of £4,482 after trading standards officers discovered counterfeit Jacob’s Creek wine on sale in his shop.

The court heard that Wandsworth Council had taken legal action against him in 2007 for selling counterfeit champagne.

Passing sentence the judge told Rajalingham that his behaviour was ‘disgraceful’ and that he should be ‘heartily ashamed’ of himself. He was also accused of putting public health at ‘serious risk’.

Council consumer protection spokesperson Jonathan Cook said: ‘This was a shocking catalogue of hygiene and food safety breaches. These premises were in a truly appalling state and posed an unacceptable danger to public health.

‘Luckily our food team acted quickly and closed the premises down until they had been properly cleaned and adequate pest proofing measures introduced.

‘The inevitable consequence of such neglect may now result in lost earnings at his restaurant. For that Mr Rajalingam has only himself to blame.’

SURVEY OF MYCOTOXINS PUBLISHED

11th of December 2012

The Food Standards Agency has published the results of a survey looking at levels of mycotoxins in food. Mycotoxins are chemicals produced by certain moulds.

The science behind the story

Mycotoxins are a group of naturally-occurring chemicals produced by certain moulds. They can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apple juice and coffee, often under warm and humid conditions. Some of these mycotoxins have been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and kidney damage.

In order to protect consumer safety, rules and strict legislative limits for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin and fusarium toxins in certain foodstuffs are set out in European legislation.

To see report

Many eat foods past use by date

12th of December 2012

Almost half of Irish people are happy to eat food that is past its use by date, a new survey by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has shown.

The survey of 1,000 consumers nationwide focused on best before and use by dates on food labels. It found that while the vast majority of people claimed to understand what these terms meant, when questioned further, half did not fully understand them.

Best before dates tend to be seen on longer life products, such as frozen foods. These foods can be expected to remain at peak quality up until the date provided if they are stored properly. They may still be edible after this date, however their quality may suffer.

Use by dates are put on highly perishable items, such as milk and meat. These products can be considered unsafe to eat if they are consumed after the date provided.

According to the findings, almost half of people said they had no problem eating food that was past its use by date, while one-third said they tended to ignore use by dates if food products looked and smelled okay.

“It is somewhat alarming that almost five out of 10 people are misunderstand the meaning of use by and best before and this may be the reason why almost half of people think it’s okay to eat foods after the use by date has expired.

“We would caution people to be careful in this regard as food products contaminated with harmful bacteria may look okay and taste and smell no different when they have gone beyond their use by date,” commented Dr Wayne Anderson of the FSAI.

On the other hand, the survey also noted that almost four in 10 people do not use foods that have passed their best before date even if the product looks and smells ok. This, the FSAI said, leads to an unnecessary waste of food. It advised consumers to use their judgement with such products. If they look and smell okay, they can be eaten.

Meanwhile, the survey also found that eight out of 10 people who are buying highly perishable products, such as milk, will choose products from the back of the fridge in order to find the one with the longest use by date.

Dr Anderson said that the FSAI regularly monitors how food businesses decide on their best before and use by dates, as it is essential that these dates are accurate.

“The food industry must have a valid basis for setting the date they put on their products. Use by dates must be set on the basis of safety and best before dates must be set on the basis of quality. Consumers have to be able to trust the use by dates on their foods and know that the food is safe if eaten before the use by date,” he commented.

Christmas Food Hygiene and Safety Messages

13th of December 2012

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has teamed up with Channel 4 to sponsor its food recipe web pages over the holiday season, which allows the FSA to highlight its Christmas food hygiene and safety messages.

More...

No honey for kids under 1; preventing botulism in infants

14th of December 2012

Logan Douglas was temporarily blinded and paralyzed as the botulism he contracted at 16-weeks-old ravaged his body.
Six months after his parents, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Alex Douglas, were faced with the decision of whether to turn off his life support as baffled medics feared the worst, Logan is doing great (right, photo from The Sun).
When a limp and ill Logan was first taken to physicians, he was admitted to hospital and, after a battery of tests, a Glasgow-based doctor ordered a test for infantile botulism for Logan.
Devastated Theresa has revealed she still blamed herself after feeding her baby honey. 
She wasn’t aware that the food wasn’t suitable for children so young – and unwittingly placed his health in danger.
Health Canada is advising parents and caregivers not to feed honey to infants less than one year of age. Honey is the only food in Canada to which infant botulism has been linked. Healthy children over one year of age can safely eat honey because they have a very low risk of developing infant botulism.
Infant botulism is caused by bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which commonly exist in nature. Although the bacteria are unable to grow and produce toxins in honey, they may grow and produce toxins in the baby’s body should an infant consume honey and could cause paralysis.
Since the first reported case in 1979, there have been 42 reported cases of infant botulism in Canada. Parents and caregivers can prevent infant botulism by never feeding honey to infants less than one year of age. This includes never adding honey to baby food and never using honey on a soother.
Most honey produced in Canada is not contaminated with the bacteria that cause infant botulism, however you are better off playing it safe.
The bacteria that cause botulism are microscopic and do not change the colour, odour or taste of food. The bacteria are not destroyed by cooking or pasteurization.

Source

FIVE MORE LOCAL AUTHORITIES LAUNCH THE FHRS

18th of December 2012

Basingstoke and Deane, Broxbourne, Sefton, Test Valley and Winchester City councils have rolled out the Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Nearly 180 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now publishing over 140,000 ratings atfood.gov.uk/ratings.

Eggs can be eaten up to two days after they have passed their ‘best before’ date, according to new guidance from the Food Standards Agency (FSA)

21st of December 2012

As part of a drive to cut food waste and the lower incidence of salmonella, the FSA said that eggs can be consumed “a day or two” after their best before date “providing they are cooked thoroughly”.

Previously the food safety watchdog had warned that eggs eaten after their best before date could contain salmonella, a bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.

An estimated 660,000 eggs costing £50 million are thrown out uneaten each year by British consumers because they have passed their best before date. The new advice is part of an effort by the FSA to cut down on food wastage, which costs households an estimated £10 billion a year.

More...

Food safety tips for Xmas and a Funny Xmas hat!

22nd of December 2012

Steve Naldrett, Director at Ardan Training Consultancy appears in the HU17 magazine. He is seen dressed as Santa as he launches Ardans annual Festive Food Safety awareness campaign.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new yesr from all at Ardan Training consultancy Ltd

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Full story – see HU17

Wales to make food ratings mandatory

23rd of December 2012

The Welsh Government has put forward draft legislation to require food businesses to display their food hygiene rating or face a possible £1,000 fine.

Health minister Lesley Griffiths launched a three-month consultation on the proposals, which could become enacted in law by 2014.

She said: ‘I believe food hygiene is vital for the protection of public health, and this scheme will help drive up standards and benefit consumers and businesses alike.

“Professor Hugh Pennington, who chaired the public inquiry into the 2005 E. coli outbreak, supports such a scheme as an inexpensive way of driving significant improvements in food safety.’

All 22 Welsh local authorities operate the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating System.

Steve Naldrett, Director at Ardan Training said: “I think this is a marvellous idea and believe it is important for the public to be able to make informed choices about where they eat.”

‘It also creates a level playing field for businesses that are highly compliant with food safety laws from those who are not’