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8th Edition - June 2017

The ciders pouring, sun is scorching, grandads sat in the deck chair snoring, kids are paddling in the sea and we’re all having BBQ for tea. Welcome to the summer edition of e-GR where we will be covering risks of rare steak and mince, turning your food waste into animal feed, clarifying the difference between use by and best before and inviting you to take a look at the Food Standards Agency's thoughts on the future of food business regulation.

Regulating Your Future
You may not have heard of the Food Standards Agency’s “Regulating our Future” programme but if you own or work in a food business then you probably need to. 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) believes that current systems for ensuring food safety within food businesses, such as regular inspections by an EHO and food officers, are out of date with how we buy and sell food and are in the process of investigating options for a new system of business regulation. “Regulating Our Future” is about designing and delivering this new system and the outcome will have implications for your food business. 

The program is still in its design stage but the FSA are aiming to have the new system in place by 2020. If you want to have your say then you can contribute to the discussion by joining the conversation #foodregulation or email the FSA at:
or sign up to receive their regular newsletter and podcast
Raising the steaks.
 
The majority of us prefer our steaks medium-rare with some people taking this to the extreme of preferring a blue steak which has simply been “shown the heat”. So, if it considered safe to eat rare steaks then why are rare burgers considered so high risk and what are the rules about serving them to your customers?
 
To answer this we must first understand that all meat contains harmful bacteria. In whole cuts, such as steaks, bacteria tend to sit on the surface and are killed when we cook or sear the outside, even if the middle of the meat is left rare. However, when meat is chopped or minced, some of the bacteria from the meats surface is introduced to the centre where it is more likely to survive inadequate cooking.
The Food Standards Agency advise is that all burgers should be cooked all the way through so that their core temperature reaches a minimum of 70⁰C for 2 minutes.

The service of burgers which are not thoroughly cooked is only acceptable once the food business operator is able to demonstrate the following to their local authority:  

 
  • They have understood the risks, from supply to the point of sale, involved in serving of rare burgers and identified and implemented adequate controls to ensure the final product is safe to eat. This includes sourcing mince, intended to be served rare, from an approved supplier.   
  • Have a written HACCP based food safety management system and accompanying due diligence records. 
  • Food business operators must ensure that, prior to the point of ordering, consumers are made aware that rare burgers are offered for sale and the risks associated with consuming them.    
  • Should never serve raw or rare minced products including burgers to vulnerable groups. This includes children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who have a weakened immune system.

Please contact your local Environmental Health food team if you have any queries.

What are you doing with your waste? 

Did you know that some food waste can be supplied for animal feed?  This has the obvious advantages of reducing waste and generating a possible income.

Dorset Trading Standards are responsible for registering any food businesses that supply waste food for animal feed. If you are a food manufacturer or retailer, the type of food waste that could be supplied as animal feed includes:
  • Food no longer suitable for human consumption such as food beyond its durability date or food which has been damaged
  • Crusts from sandwiches
  • Fruit and vegetable trimmings
  • Potato peel
  • Brewers grains
  • Cereal screenings
  • Pastry trimmings
Some waste food cannot be supplied as animal feed this includes:
  • Food from catering establishments, or food that has been in any kitchen; domestic or commercial,
  • Meat or Meat products
  • Fish or fish products
  • Bovine gelatine (often found in sweets)
  • Milk, cheese and eggs can be supplied in some limited circumstances.
If you think you have a waste food product that could be used as an animal feed rather than sending it to landfill please contact Dorset Trading Standards on 01305 224475 for advice and registration.

Detailed guidance is available here
??Use by or Best Before??
Food labels contain a wealth of important information about the food we sell and consume including reference to a use by or best before date. It is important to know the difference between Use by and best before dates. Getting it wrong can be costly to the health of your consumers and your business. 
 
A Use by date is usually found on perishable foods such as ready to eat meats, fish and dairy products which require chilling. These are likely to cause illness if they are consumed after their expiry date and it is against the law to sell food that has exceeded this date. It is critical to ensure that products marked with a use by date are stored correctly. Incorrect storage, such as poor temperature control, is likely to cause the product to perish prematurely. Food businesses who produce and sell perishable foods are legally responsible for setting use by date on your products.

Best before end gives an indication of quality and is usually associated with foods such as biscuits, pasta and crisps whose flavour, appearance or texture diminish over time. Eating a food that is beyond its best before date is unlikely to make you ill but the product may not be at its best.  With the exception of eggs it is OK to sell food that beyond their best before date providing it is safe to eat.

for further information or advice contact your local food safety team or by visiting the Food Standards Agency and NHS websites.  

Contact us

Contact the environmental health team for your local council, by selecting their logo or go to Dorset County Council's logo for trading standards

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