Outdoor Event Food Safety

When catering to the public it is imperative that food safety is at optimum levels.

Whilst staff should receive health and safety and food safety instruction the less learned and capable caterers at food festivals, parties, barbeques, street events, fairs and sports events could, by ignorance rather than design, cause a food safety incident.

As the ramifications of incorrect storage, cross contamination, allergies, food poisoning and feeding meat to vegetarian clients by using the same utensils are undesirable, unlawful and potential life threatening, food safety training should be taken by anyone wishing to cater at an external event.

The added risk of flies, bees and wasps being tempted by food and drink means that the pest control measures should be strictly in place. No customer wants to eat a morsel after a fly has wandered over it (and worse.)

When you cater to others, they reasonably expect you to know your business, the laws and how to keep them safe.

For example:

  • Food should not be treated in a way that endangers consumers.
  • It must meet standards as advertised.
  • It should be labelled correctly, including details of allergens.
  • Consumers (and you) like to know where their food came from. Traceability is vital.

If you are working outdoors how will you keep food stock at safe temperatures? Food can’t simply be plonked under a tree in a shady spot to keep it cool. Serving ice creams and sorbets? How are they going to remain frozen? These are common sense issues but you’d be astounded how many times they are neglected, to the consumers detriment.

If you have any doubts or have not received festival safety training in the last three years please seek a training course from a leading specialist like Food Alert who offer classroom based and online courses for professionals.

Training courses utilise current legislation:

  • Food Safety Act 1990.
  • Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs.
  • The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Food safety management systems should be based on HACCP – Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points –  and the skills used on a business premises can easily be transferred to festivals and outdoor events.

Food festival HACCP development is a primary tool to ensure staff work to the same standard and risk assessments, controls and effective management are employed throughout an event.

Again, food safety training firms feature courses which look in depth at food festival HACCP development so please take advantage of their expertise and experience.

Festival safety courses:

  • CIEH Food Safety Awareness.
  • Food Safety Induction Training.
  • CIEH level 1 Food Safety.
  • CIEH level 2 Food Safety.
  • CIEH level 3 Food Safety.
  • RSPH level 4 Managing Food Safety
  • CIEH level 2 Food Safety in Manufacturing.
  • CIEH level 3 Supervising Food Safety in Manufacturing.
  • CIEH level 4 Managing Food Safety in Manufacturing.
  • CIEH Food Allergens Awareness.
  • CIEH Legionella Awareness.
  • Level 2 Principles of HACCP.
  • Level 3 HACCP in Catering.
  • Personalising HACCP plans.

Taking a food safety course could be the wisest investment you make.

Summer food challenges

There are some health and safety risks which are prevalent all year round but the summer brings some concerns which the other seasons don’t. As a food outlet, caterer or food supplier it is vital that the additional issues raised by increased temperatures, pests and using external resources are factored in to the work day. Consumers expect the food provider to give them uncontaminated, safe food.

For food safety courses, health and safety training and peace of mind speak to a firm like Food Alert in London about building knowledge and proactively preventing hazards.

  • When a supplier delivers to your premises you need to be confident that the stock is safe. Carrying out food supplier checks about their processes, storage facilities before and during transportation and their adherence to HACCP (Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points) should be made. Traceability checks are also useful.
  • Fridges and freezers work harder in the heat to maintain the coolness of the stock within it. If food which is warm is placed in to either facility this is compromising the performance of the unit and the safety of the food.
  • A food poisoning incident on your premises could see your business shut down so please take every necessary measure, summer or winter, that ensures stock is reaching you at the best quality and is maintained at legal food safety levels.
  • Outdoor catering often involves barbequing. There are many chefs who are proficient in this form of cooking but if you have any doubts, need a refresher course or you’re a first time professional barbeque chef please take food safety courses so that you don’t make a costly error. There is a vast difference between what you can “get away with” at a family barbeque and what is unlawful at a professional event.

Remember, ignorance is not always bliss.

  • Humans suffer in the heat and the kitchen can feel like a fire pit. Opening windows and doors means free access to pests so ventilation needs to be addressed in line with risk assessment.
  • A constant frustration in the summer months is the arrival of flies, bees, wasps, moths and other pests who feel compelled to seek out your food and compromise its hygiene levels. Effective devices are available to counter them from food covers to fly screens and machines.
  • If you’re unaware of the severity of the fly-food issue, please read on.
  • All species of fly feed by vomiting saliva on to the food surface.
  • They consume the resulting liquid and contaminate the food with bacteria from their gut and feet.
  • Some flies carry parasitic worm eggs, others bite.
  • Fly related food poisoning cases escalate in the summer. Knowledge is power so take food safety courses to succeed.

As you’ll appreciate, health and safety is not an area to be cavalier about.

From food supplier checks to correct cooking procedures to refrigeration concerns, ensure you and your customers have a safe summer. Food safety courses are simple to access and could save distress and legal action.