Legal Responsibilities of Food Handlers
The law requires food handlers to ensure food safety in their activities. The food they handle should be safe for human consumption. According to the law, food handlers must report to their supervisors if they have a contagious ailment, such as fever or vomiting. They are also responsible for ensuring that their hair, nails, jewellery or plasters do not contaminate the food they handle.
Know Your Legal Responsibilities
The law requires you to carry out certain duties if you handle food or work with volunteers in food handling. Generally, larger food handling enterprises have more complex food handling procedures and protocols. You will need a deeper understanding of related laws, including but not limited to employment law and contracts.
As a food handler, you have the following responsibilities:
- Ensuring that the food is safe for human consumption.
- Ensuring that you don’t add, remove or treat food in a manner that makes it unfit for human consumption.
- Ensure that the food is the same quality that you claim it is.
- Make sure that your food labelling, advertising or marketing is not misleading to customers and potential customers.
- Keep records of where you source your food from and provide such information on demand. This is known as traceability.
- In the incident of unsafe food, withdraw the hazardous food and complete an incident report; inform people of why food has been withdrawn. This can be done using a leaflet or poster.
- If you sell food to the public, you are required to display your food hygiene rating.
- If you use additives in food, you must only use approved additives. Such additives must be approved for use in that specific type of food, and the amount of food additive must not exceed the maximum permitted amount.
Food Safety and Hygiene
Selling food that has passed its use-by date is illegal. Supermarkets can donate food that is near to its use-by date; if you accept such an offer it is your responsibility to use or sell such food before its use-by date. Re-selling supermarket food is not illegal.
If you are in the business of selling food, you need to indicate the ingredients of the food products that you sell, and anything the food might have come into contact with that could affect people with allergies or intolerance.
Local councils are tasked with the responsibility of enforcing food safety law.
Workplace Health and Safety
As the name suggests, workplace health and safety emphasises on preventing workers or the public from getting harmed by work.
Workplace health and safety law applies to all organisations and businesses of all sizes and covers employees of all kinds; subcontractors, trainees and volunteers. Local councils enforce health and safety law in smaller organisations and businesses such as shops, cafes and nurseries.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces health and safety law in public sector organisations such as schools, hospitals and nursing homes.