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Welcome to Food Safety
Food Safety Team
The Food Safety Team is responsible for ensuring that all food sold in Brighton & Hove is clean and safe for the consumer to eat. Any premises which stores, prepares, produces, cooks or sells food must comply with strict hygiene standards.
The pages listed on the tabs at the right hand side of your screen provide useful information for food businesses and consumers but if the subject you are looking for is not there, please ring the Food Safety Team on (01273) 292161
If you are looking to start a new food business then see our food businesses - starting and registering a new food business page which will give information on what you will need to do.
Food Team Service Plan 2011-2012This years Service Plan can be found on our Food Law Enforcement Page.
Food Safety Newsletter
The new Food & Safety News Issue 2 2012 [PDF 992kb] is available to view or download.
The previous Food and Safety Issues are available to view or download below:
- Food & Safety News Issue 1 2012 [PDF 536kb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 2 2011 [PDF 749kb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 1 2011 [PDF 812kb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 2 2010 [PDF 1.63mb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 1 2010 [PDF 1.06mb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 2 2009 [PDF 657kb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 1 2009 [PDF 81kb]
- Food & Safety News Issue 2 2008 [PDF 96kb]
Don’t let food poisoning ruin your festive celebrations
If there’s one thing guaranteed to ruin your Christmas meal out with friends, family or colleagues, it’s a nasty bout of food poisoning.
But if you’re eating out, how do you know if the restaurant owner takes food hygiene seriously?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rates eateries and other places that sell food on their hygiene standards, based on inspections carried out by Brighton & Hove City Council. What’s more, these ratings are available for everyone to see.
This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities*, rates food outlets on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’). You can check the rating online at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/hygienerating or www.food.gov.uk/ratings, via a free phone app, or look for the distinctive green and black rating sticker that businesses are encouraged to display.
In Brighton & Hove there are currently 1,365 food businesses with the top five star rating - up from 1,311 in April this year when the national rating scheme was introduced.
Councillor Pete West, chair of the council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee, said: "We have a fantastic selection of places to eat out in Brighton & Hove and, if you are eating out over the festive period, it makes sense to look before you book and check out the food hygiene rating."
Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA, added: “No-one wants to gamble with their health when eating out, particularly when celebrating a special festive meal. Local authorities, including Brighton & Hove, have worked with the FSA to successfully roll-out the scheme which helps people choose where to eat. Our app makes it even easier for people to check hygiene ratings before deciding which place to visit.”
*The national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme was introduced by the FSA in March and replaced the previous Scores on the Doors scheme which operated in the city from 2007. The new scheme builds on the success of the local Scores on the Doors and means there is now one single national scheme, so that people in any area can recognise the ratings. Both schemes use a very similar 0 - 5 grading.
Issued December 7Christmas food safety tips with a twist
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has traditionally used the festive season to remind consumers about food safety. This year, the FSA is planning a twist on this tradition. During the run up to Christmas, it will be tweeting daily tips, hosting an online advent calendar and a festive infographic with all the tips you need to make sure your Christmas meal is fit for kings.
The FSA will also teaming up with NHS Choices to host a series of tweet chats on 19, 20 and 21 December.
To read more, please follow this link http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2012/dec/christmas2012-news
Issued on December 3
E.coli outbreak in Belfast is 'a major crisis' says Northern Ireland's Public Health Authority (PHA)
The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Environmental Health Officers from Belfast City Council are continuing to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 linked to Flicks restaurant in Cityside Mall, 100-150 York Street, Belfast.
As of 3pm on Wednesday 17 October 2012, there were 25 confirmed cases and 154 probable cases. Eight people have been hospitalised since the start of the outbreak, but the PHA understands that most have now gone home.
Dr Michael Devine, Consultant in Health Protection, PHA, said: “The PHA has activated a full public health response to this outbreak, and the situation is being managed and monitored very closely.”
"It is vital that everyone follows some simple rules to prevent the spread of E coli – not just those with symptoms, but everyone should wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food. Raw and cooked food should be kept completely separate, raw meat should be cooked through and vegetables and fruit should be washed thoroughly before eating."
Investigations are continuing and final conclusions will emerge when all cases have been identified and analysed to identify any common links.
The management of Flicks have voluntarily closed the premises and are cooperating with the investigation.
The PHA has advised that anyone who ate at Flicks restaurant since 24 September and has symptoms of diarrhoea (especially bloody diarrhoea) and/or abdominal pain should contact their GP urgently for medical advice.
Dr Devine explained: “The Escherichia coli bacteria is commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. There are many different types of E. coli, and while some live in the intestine quite harmlessly, others may cause a variety of diseases. The bacterium is found in faeces and can survive in the environment.
“Symptoms caused by E. coli O157 can include diarrhoea, which can range from mild to profuse watery or bloody diarrhoea, tummy cramps, nausea or vomiting.”
The PHA is also aware of four cases of E. coli O157 among adults in August which were linked to this restaurant, and alongside Belfast City Council Environmental Health Officers, investigated those at the time. All tests on the restaurant at that time were negative. In addition, further environmental health inspections were conducted, all of which were satisfactory, and enhanced surveillance to monitor for cases was also put in place. The current cases came to light through that enhanced monitoring.
As part of the investigation into the current outbreak, any potential link with the previous cases will be examined, although it is too early to comment further on this at such an early stage.
For the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) latest advice on E.coli, please follow this link http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2012/oct/hygiene-reminder
Curry Chef of the Year Competition 2012
Brighton Racecourse hosted the Curry Chef of the Year Competition 2012 with cooks from restaurants and takeaways in the city taking part and hoping to curry favour with judges in the finals of this city wide cookery competition. The competition was organised by Brighton and Hove City Council's Food Safety Team as part of its ongoing work with local catering businesses.
Previous winners were Krua Anne, Kensington Gardens in 2010 and The Chilli Pickle, Jubilee Street, in 2011.
Chefs prepared and cooked their curries in the main kitchens of Brighton Racecourse. The panel of judges were food writer Andrew Kay, Councillor Stephanie Powell (Queens Park ward) and Adam Brine, Catering and Equipment Manager for Hardings, and marked the dishes using criteria such as flavour, aroma and culinary skills.
The 2012 winner of the competition was Pavel Indian restaurant, St James's Street, with second place (and Healthy Choice Award) going to Karims, Blatchington Road. Third place went to Sabai, Princes Place and finalists included Chaula's Indian restaurant, East Street, and Neville at the Rock Inn, Rock Street.
Issued October 2012
Advice to the Public
How Would You Like Your Burgers Cooked?
Whenever you are asked this question the answer should be ‘thoroughly’.
The Food Safety Team at Brighton & Hove City Council are concerned that some eateries may be offering to serve beef burgers rare or medium-rare without necessary controls in place.
The Food Standards Agency advises that burgers made from any type of meat should always be cooked until there are no pink bits and the juices run clear. Cooking in this way kills any bugs, such as E.coli, which may be present on or in the meat. This applies whether you are buying a cooked burger or making your own with mince you have bought from the supermarket or butcher.
It is safe to eat rare steak because searing the outside surface will kill any bugs that might have contaminated the outside. However, the same doesn't go for minced products like burgers. This is because any bugs that may have been on the surface of the raw meat will be spread throughout the burger when meat is minced, so any pink meat may still contain harmful bacteria.
Although searing the outside of meat could be used to produce safe mince for burgers this must be done carefully and controlled. Due to the risks associated with this method it is not encouraged.
If you are offered a rare or medium-rare burger please let the Food Safety Team know by either ringing (01273) 292161, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing or visiting them at Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, BN1 1JP
Advice to Food Businesses
The Food Safety Team are concerned that food businesses may be offering to cook burgers rare or medium-rare without having thought properly about the risks and control measures.
Businesses have a specific legal obligation to identify and control any process steps that are critical to food safety. Guidance issued by the Food Standards Agency advises the thorough cooking of minced meat products, including burgers to a temperature of 70°C for two minutes or equivalent, or until there are no pink bits and the juices run clear is such a critical control.
Caterers must ensure that their procedures achieve this and they should take into account the type of cooking equipment, operating temperatures, its thickness and any other relevant factors.
Businesses should consider the potential for undercooked burgers to cause disease and should not provide them to customers.
Verocytotoxin producing Esherichia coli (VTEC) infections could be significantly reduced if there was a better understanding of the need to avoid cross contamination and to cook food properly.
Those handling burgers should focus on training to ensure that the staff know the routine for safe cooking and why it is important.
The Food Standards Agency have set up a blog on this subject at -
For further advice contact the Food Safety Team at Brighton & Hove City Council by either writing to them at Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JP, telephoning (01273)292161 or email email@example.com
Issued September 2012
This week, back in June, was Food Safety Week and the theme was ‘food safety on a budget’. This annual event, held to promote the importance of good food hygiene in the home, focussed on how people can ensure that they keep their food safe when trying to save money.
During Food Safety Week people were reminded of the following food safety advice.
Understanding ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates
- ‘Use by’ dates appear on foods that go off quickly. It can be dangerous to eat food past this date, even though it might look and smell fine. But if cooked or frozen its life can be extended beyond the 'use by' date.
- Check the ‘use by’ dates on the food in your fridge on a regular basis and be sure to use (eat, cook or freeze) food before its ‘use by’ to help you avoid throwing food away unnecessarily.
- Once food with a ‘use by’ date has been opened, follow any storage instructions such as ‘eat within 3 days of opening’.
- ‘Best before’ dates appear on food with a longer shelf life. They show how long the food will be at its best quality. Using food after the ‘best before’ doesn’t mean it will be unsafe. The exception to this is eggs, providing they are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date.
Use leftovers safely
Eating leftovers can be a good way of making a meal go further.
- If you are going to store leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible (ideally within 90 minutes) cover them and eat them up within two days.
- If you are going to freeze them, cool them before putting them in your freezer. Once foods are in the freezer, they can be safely stored there forever – but the quality will deteriorate so it’s best to eat them within three months.
- Make sure you defrost leftovers properly before reheating. Defrost them in the fridge over night, or in the microwave if you intend to cook them straightaway. Eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and do not refreeze. The only exception is if you are defrosting raw food, such as meat or poultry, once it’s cooked it can be refrozen.
- Cook leftovers until steaming hot throughout.
- Don’t reheat leftovers more than once.
Plan your meals
- Before you go shopping check what’s in the fridge and freezer.
- Think about what you are going to eat that week and write it down.
- Make a list of what you need to buy and stick to it! Impulse buys can be expensive and, if not part of your plans, could lead to something else being wasted.
- If you do get tempted by special offers in the shop, like ‘buy one get one free’, think about adjusting your meal planner for the week to add it in, or freeze the extra pack before the ‘use by’ date. Or you could cook larger portions and save some for another time.
- Label food before it goes in the freezer, so you know what it is and how long it’s been there.
Further information can also be found on the FSA Website.Food hygiene training videos online
Monday 14 May 2012
The Food Standards Agency has published 10 short videos to help caterers produce food safely. Each video is about a minute long and covers specific food hygiene practices.
These training resources are designed to illustrate messages within the ‘Safer food, better business’ packs and they follow the same innovative and practical approach to food safety management as the packs.Agency warning on certain brands of French-bought reblochon cheese
Friday 27 April 2012
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is warning people who may have bought any of three particular brands of reblochon cheese in France to discard them. The French authorities have issued an alert about potential contamination with the bacteria that causes brucellosis.
EU Laying Hens Directive
Tuesday 13 March 2012
The Food Safety team has received reports that some catering businesses have received a letter which appears to say that it is illegal to use non-lion branded eggs. The letter goes onto say that businesses who did use such eggs could be liable to prosecution.
This letter actually refers to the EU Laying Hens Directive which came into force on 1 January 2012 and the conditions which battery hens are kept in. The letter has been sent by the British Egg Information Service and is not a food hygiene requirement.
National guidance from the Food Standards Agency states that use Lion Brand Eggs as best practice, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO USE EGGS THAT ARE NOT LION BRANDED, for more information you can see our Safe Handling of Eggs page which offers advice on how to ensure you are using eggs safely either in the home or in your business.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Launch
Thursday 1 March 2012
The City of Brighton & Hove has now launched onto the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). To find out more see our FHRS page or to search for your local business click the banner below.
Tuesday 7 February 2012
An online tool aimed at dispelling myths about food allergy and intolerance has been launched on the NHS Choices website, with the help of the Food Standards Agency.
The tool, developed in conjunction with FSA allergy experts, looks at common misconceptions about food allergies and intolerances and sorts the facts from fiction.
New hygiene rating scheme for food businesses in Brighton & Hove
Brighton & Hove City Council compares well against the other 55 English Unitary Authorities. With just under 88% of all food business being deemed ‘broadly compliant’, the city council is up there with the better performing local authorities, and was one of only six which completed 100% of their annual programme of inspections.
"The great inspection results reflect the hard work carried out by the Food Safety Team to help businesses, and protect both residents and visitors to the city" said Councillor Ben Duncan.
Tuesday 22 November 2011
The Food Standards Agency has today published the second edition of the Q&A on its guidance document 'E.coli O157: control of cross-contamination'.
Tuesday 22nd November 2011
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today launched a new campaign reminding people to wash raw vegetables to help minimise the risk of food poisoning.
The campaign is in response to E.coli outbreaks in Britain and abroad this year including one linked to soil on raw vegetables and another caused by contaminated sprouted seeds.
This site provides information for people working in the catering and hospitality industry on how to comply with health and safety law.
The industry covers people working in commercial kitchens, hotels, restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, pubs and clubs and those working as contract caterers to other industries.
A link to this site can also be accessed on our Food Safety Guidance page.
FSA advice on the use of fresh Scallops
10th August 2011
The FSA have requested action by Local Authorities in respect of a problem of Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning linked to inadequately processed King Scallops.
The Food Safety Team are sending the letter below to all business who supply fresh scallops in the area which offers advice on using fresh scallops.
Passionate About Fish - How to shuck and clean a King Scallop
Proper shucking and cleaning will control the risks associated with King Scallops as shown in the video below.
E.coli 0157 - A butchers' guide to staying safe
The video can be viewed below or you can order a copy by calling the Food Standards Agency Publications on 0845 606 0667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the Pennington Report the FSA has issued guidance to clarify the steps that food businesses need to take in order to control the risk of contamination from E. coli O157. The guidance is split into a factsheet for businesses and guidance for enforcement officers.
16 March 2011
We have added new guidance notes on Vacuum Packing Chilled Foods and the Labelling requirements for eggs to our guidance page.
15 February 2011
The FSA has today issued guidance to clarify the steps that food businesses need to take to control the risk of contamination from the food bug E.coli O157.
Tuesday 8th February
Further to the FSA advice on oysters the Food Safety Team has created a page giving Advice About Oysters. We also have a printable leaflet with information on Handling Live Oysters in Shops and Restaurants [PDF 739kb] aimed at those premises which offer oysters for sale. This gives useful information on Traceability and handling oysters, for further advice please feel free to contact the Food Safety Team on the details supplied on the leaflet. You can also view a short video on handling oysters below.
Further advice on other food safety matters can be found on our Food Safety Guidance page.
A short video giving advice on oysters including how to open them.