All stages of food manufacturing, transport, processing and sale is regulated and controlled to ensure that it is safe to consume.
To this effect the Agency carries out:
- Inspection of all food premises
- Enforcement of the Food Hygiene Regulations
- Advice to food premises owners, managers and handlers
- Temperature control
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
- Registration of food premises
- Food complaints
- Condemnation of unfit food
- Sampling of foods
- Provision of training courses in Food Safety
- Licensing of Street Traders and Pedlars
Inspection and Enforcement of the Food Hygiene Regulations
All premises (including vans, carts, stalls and other street vendors) that sell, store, manufacture or otherwise handle foods are inspected to ensure compliance with numerous laws and standards. The Food Hygiene Regulations give the minimum requirements for such premises and specify the standards of cleanliness, construction, layout and practices that are necessary and the Agency readily provides advice to all involved in food businesses, be they owners of establishments, food handlers or cleaners. The inspection is very involved and looks not only at the cleanliness of the premises but other areas like the correct storage of foods, temperature control and stock rotation, pest proofing of the premises, disposal of food waste, staff training and awareness.
Advice to new premises
It is most important for anyone contemplating starting a food business to bring in the Environmental Health Officer at a very early stage. Perhaps the premises in mind are not suitable for the purpose and may even be not approved by the officer. It saves a lot of time, money and effort to discuss the proposals at the planning stage so that layout, provision of toilets, wash hand basins and other equipment can be discussed before engaging works.
Registration of Food Premises
All premises handling open food must be registered under the Food and Drugs Act subject to compliance with the Food Hygiene Regulations (Download Application for Registration of Food Premises Form). It is advisable that anyone considering starting a food business should contact one of the Environmental Health officers at an early stage as this will help foresee any problems, agree on the layout of the premises, establish a food working relationship and even save time and money.
All complaints concerning unfit food or food which is not of the nature quality or substance are duly investigated by officers of the Agency. Investigation may result in the Agency taking legal proceeding against the vendor or importer of the food in question a complaint is justified.
Condemnation of unfit food
Any food found to be unfit for human consumption that is not voluntarily surrendered may be seized by an officer who will then apply to a Justice of the Peace to have the food condemned and destroyed.
Sampling of food
The Agency has a sampling programme to ensure that food sold to the public conforms with compositional and bacteriological standards.
Food Injurious to Health
Under the Food and Drugs Act it is an offence for any person to add, subtract, process or treat any food in any way that makes it injurious to health and with the intent that it will be sold for human consumption in that way.