Fife Council’s Environmental Health department are also able to provide you with a wide range of help.
Setting up a new business
Don't spend your money unnecessarily. It's better to get things right from the start. We can save you from making expensive guesses.
We can support in implementing a food safety management system such as Cooksafe and RetailSafe
As our responsibilities include enforcing legislation, we will inspect your food premises to ensure that you comply with the relevant food hygiene and food standards legislation.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are responsible for all labelling and standards policy in Scotland. They are involved in a range of initiatives to investigate what improvements you would like to see in relation to food labelling.
Inspections are only a part of what we do. We much prefer to meet with new businesses before they start to trade. If there are problems to be solved then it's inevitably cheaper to solve them at the planning stage.
If you sell food, then you are responsible for ensuring that it's safe. We regularly inspect all local food business to ensure high standards and to identify areas for improvement.
Most of our work involves helping businesses comply with food hygiene legislation and providing recommendations on best practice. We also carry out inspections to ensure that food meets relevant standards with regard to its quality, composition, labelling and advertising.
Minor breaches in hygiene law are often dealt with informally however more serious contraventions, can result in legal action or even forcing a business to close.
If you have any concerns about how best to operate safely and legally just pick up the phone, we are here to help.Back To Top
If you are involved in handling, processing or serving food to the public then you must have some level of food hygiene training.
The exact nature of the training is not specified in law. Whatever form of training you choose however has to be appropriate for the type of work that you do. For example, a chef needs a higher level of knowledge than someone waiting tables. A manager may need more advanced hygiene training than the chef. It's the proprietor's duty to consider which level of training is required for each member of staff.
We recognise the training courses offered by the Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland (REHIS) - (takes you to an external website). There are three different training levels:
In Fife there are several colleges that provide courses and anyone interested in undertaking training or providing it for their employees should contact these colleges directly.
The Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland website (external site) lists all training providers in your local area.Back To Top
Food Standards Scotland (takes you to an external website) is responsible for all labelling and standards policy in Scotland. They are involved in a range of initiatives to investigate what improvements you would like to see in relation to food labelling.
Environmental Health staff are responsible for food labelling enforcement in Fife. If you would like advice on the labelling requirements of food please contact us.
If you sell or produce food it's your responsibility to ensure that all products have either a 'use by' date or a 'best before' date.
Use By Date
A 'use by' date should be displayed on highly perishable products, such as dairy or meat, that could cause you harm. Any specific storage conditions must also be stipulated on the packaging to preserve the use by date.
It is illegal for a business to sell food that's past the use by date as there is potential that it can cause illness.
Best Before Date
'Best before dates' are used on less perishable products such as biscuits, cereals and tinned produce.
The 'best before' date is when the manufacturer guarantees the quality of the product. After this date the product might not be at its best, but it's unlikely that it would cause an illness if eaten.
It is not an offence for a shop to sell food past its 'best before' date unless it can be demonstrated that it's unfit for human consumption.Back To Top
Some people have a sensitivity to certain foods that non-sufferers would find harmless. When someone has a food allergy, their immune system reacts to a particular food as if it's not safe. A severe food allergy can cause a life-threatening reaction. Food intolerance, however, does not involve the immune system and is not generally life-threatening.
It is important that your staff are aware of the allergens they provide in the food they sell, to enable them to cater for customers with food allergies and intolerance.
You need to understand your processes and products and identify, manage and communicate allergen risks to your staff and customers who may have allergies to certain foods.
Food Standards Scotland can provide up-to-date information on all of this and more.
Allergen management can easily be done in three steps.
Step 1 - Identify allergens in your business
The table below lists the most common allergens and provides examples of foods which typically contain them:
|Allergen||Examples of typical foods which contain this allergen. (Please not this list is not exhaustive)|
|Cereals containing Gluten e.g. wheat, rye, barley, oats||Bread, pasta, cakes, pastry, sauces, soups, batter, stock cubes, breadcrumbs, semolina, couscous, some meat products.|
|Celery and celeriac e.g. stalks, seeds and leaves||Salads, soups, celery salt, some meat products.|
|Eggs||Cakes, sauces, pasta, mayonnaise, some meat products, glazed products.|
|Fish, Crustaceans and Molluscs e.g. all fish, prawns, lobster, crab, clams, langoustines, mussels, oysters||Some salad dressings, fish extracts, oils and paste, soy and Worcestershire sauces, relishes.|
|Milk||Milk powder, yoghurt, butter, cheese, cream, ghee, foods glazed with milk, ice cream.|
|Mustard||Mustard paste, seeds, leaves, flour, powder and liquid mustard, salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, curries, some meat products.|
|Peanuts||Arachis oil, peanut butter, flour, satay sauce, refined peanut oil.|
|Other nuts e.g. walnuts, cashews, pecan, Brazil, pistachio, macadamia, Queensland nuts.||In sauces, desserts, bread, crackers, ice cream, praline (hazelnut), nut butters, essences and oils, marzipan and frangipane (almond), pesto, nut salad dressings.|
|Sesame Seeds||Oil or paste, tahini, houmous, halva, furikake, Gomashio, bread|
|Soya e.g. flour, tofu, or bean curd, textured Soya, protein, soy sauce, edamame beans.||Some ice cream, sauces, desserts, meat products, vegetarian products.|
|Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites||Some meat products, stock cubes, bouillon mix, fruit juice drinks, dried fruit/ vegetables, wine, beer, cider.|
|Lupin Seeds and Flour||Some types of bread and pastries.|
Step 2 - Manage allergen risks
This can be done by adapting the following guidance for your business.
Deliveries and labels:
- check that the food matches your order. If it does not match, check the ingredients of the replacement product
- be aware of hidden ingredients e.g. nuts used in a base of a cheesecake
- any foods whose ingredients are unknown to you will require further investigation to declare allergen information
Storage and avoiding cross contamination:
- store foods that contain allergens separate from other foods. Consider using colour coded containers
- store foods that contain allergens in powdered form such as milk powder in air-tight containers
- do not lose the original product description following unpacking, decanting and storage
- keep a record of all foods and ingredients purchased by you to ensure traceability
- put in place steps to prevent cross contamination between foods that contain allergens and other foods
Know ALL the ingredients in the food you handle to ensure you provide accurate allergen advice to customers.
Whenever preparing or serving food for an allergy sufferer, you should always:
- use a separate area to prepare the food
- clean and disinfect the work surface, equipment and serving utensils first
- wash your hands thoroughly
- check all ingredients including secondary ones, for example, thickeners for sauces
- do not cook food in oil in which you have cooked other foods
- do not remove allergenic ingredients such as nuts from a dish and call it allergy free as residues can remain in the dish
- when displaying food in buffets or displays lay out dishes in a way that minimises the risk of cross contamination
Step 3 - Communicate with your staff and customers
- train all your staff in allergy awareness
- make sure that all staff understand that they should never guess whether an allergen is/isn't present in food
- ensure kitchen staff inform the service staff on last minute recipe changes
Communicating with your customers:
- let customers with allergies know that you are allergy aware and give advice on which foods to avoid
- where possible design your menu so that allergenic ingredients are stated
E.coli O157: Control of Cross-Contamination
Food Standards Scotland has issued guidance for food businesses to clarify the steps that they need to take to control the risk of food becoming contaminated by E.coli O157 and what businesses should be doing to protect their customers.
This guidance has been developed in response to the serious outbreaks of E.coli O157 in Scotland in 1996 and Wales in 2005, which were attributed to cross-contamination arising from poor handling of food.
Although E.coli is the key focus of this guidance, the measures outlined will also help in the control of other bacteria, such as campylobacter and salmonella.
The full guidance, developed following a public consultation and Professor Hugh Pennington’s report into the 2005 E.coli outbreak, can be found at the link below, along with a factsheet for businesses, which summarises the guidance.
The Food Standards Agency's Guidance Document 'E. coli O157: Control of Cross Contamination' requires Food Business Operators to ensure that, where necessary, they are using appropriate disinfectants that meet the requirements of British Standards BS EN 1276:1997 or BS EN 13697:2001 to disinfect food contact surfaces and equipment. A list of disinfectants which meet these requirements can be found here.Back To Top
We have a legal responsibility to carry out food sampling throughout Fife. In addition to this, we take regular samples of shellfish from the Fife coast to test for toxins and e-coli. This lets us classify sites to determine where shellfish can be harvested.
Food sampling may be taken which could include the following:
- as routine surveillance to ensure food is compliant with the law including safety, composition and claims made by the producer
- when there is the possibility that prosecution may follow as a result of the samples failing to meet the required standards
- removed or purchased as part of an investigation following a consumer complaint
- during an investigation of a food poisoning outbreak or incident
The majority of samples taken within Fife are done informally as part of routine monitoring. In most cases we purchase the item anonymously and submit it to the food examiner for analysis. The seller or producer will only be notified if there is a problem with the sample. If there is a problem, they will then be told what action they need to take. Further samples will be taken, possibly formally, to ensure that the corrective action has been taken.
Formal sampling will be done if there is a possibility that an offence has been committed and that it's likely to be used as evidence in a prosecution. We have a set procedure for formal sampling. If the results fail the seller or producer will be told what further action will be taken. This may involve prosecution depending on the seriousness of the offence.
Scottish Food Surveillance System (SFSS)
This is a sampling regime that was introduced by the Food Standards Agency with many local authorities across the UK using the system. The aim is to sample the same types of food across the country to ensure that they comply with the law. Food items can be tested for any purpose e.g.:
- various bacteria levels
- salt levels
- additives such as food colourings
- meat composition
If you suffer a refrigerator or freezer breakdown any food stored may go off. You have a responsibility to ensure that any unfit food is not offered for sale.
To ensure that such food is removed from the food chain, and from offer to the public, then the food business must ensure that the food is discarded legally.
We can arrange for an uplift of spoiled or suspect foodstuffs from the premises for disposal. It may be a requirement of your insurance company dealing with your claims to evidence such breakdowns.
We make a charge for this uplift and arrangements can be made by contacting us on the details provided.Back To Top
Contact Food Advice
- Email: email@example.com