Play it Safe Olympics campaign
The Food Standards Agency is responsible for minimising the risks to food safety during London 2012. Throughout the Paralympic Games, the Agency is continuing to support food inspectors, assist businesses, and provide information for consumers to help them keep food safety risks as low as possible.
Play it Safe
Play it Safe is the Agency’s campaign to raise awareness among food businesses and visitors of the importance of good food hygiene and food safety. The FSA has provided extra training and resources for food business owners to help them follow the rules, and reminding Games visitors of what to look for when eating out during London 2012.
Spot the Difference - answers
Here are the answers to the Play it Safe spot the difference competition. Did you see the food safety rules being broken in the ‘bad’ image? How many did you spot?
1. Raw steak next to ready-to-eat sandwich in the cabinet (‘good’ image: ready-to-eat sandwiches and bowl of rice in the cabinet)
What was wrong: Raw foods (meat/fish/eggs) and ready-to-eat foods should never be stored together due to the risk of cross-contamination. Raw meat and poultry should be wrapped or kept in sealed containers and stored below any ready to eat foods in the fridge to prevent them from dripping onto the ready to eat food.
2. No food hygiene rating scheme logo (‘good’ image: food hygiene rating scheme logo, showing a rating of 5)
What was wrong: Displaying a food hygiene rating (from 0-5) gives customers confidence in the food safety levels of the business they are purchasing food from. It’s not a legal requirement to display the rating, but all food businesses that have been rated can be checked on www.food.gov.uk/ratings.
3. No soap at the handwash basin (‘good’ image: soap at the handwash basin)
What was wrong: It is very important that those working in any food business have easy access to handwashing facilities with hot water and soap. Hand sanitiser for use after thoroughly washing and drying hands can also be effective, but we always advise washing hands before using a sanitiser. It is the food business owner’s responsibility to ensure all staff wash their hands regularly and correctly.
4. Raw chicken on the chopping board with salad vegetables (‘good’ image: just salad on the chopping board)
What was wrong: Avoiding cross contamination is very important when using chopping boards, knives and other utensils, as dangerous bacteria can spread from raw food to your hands, utensils, surfaces and to ready-to-eat foods. When eating out, check that separate equipment is being used for raw and ready-to-eat foods – many chefs use different coloured chopping boards and knives.
5. A dirt mark on the server’s apron (‘good’ image: no dirt mark)
What was wrong: Dirty clothing can increase the risk of cross-contamination and passing on dangerous bugs to ready-to-eat food, especially when working in an environment where both raw and ready-to-eat foods are handled. Take a closer look to see if items such as aprons are clean.
6. Fridge door left ajar (‘good’ image: fridge door closed)
What was wrong: Fridge and freezer doors must be kept firmly closed in order to maintain their correct temperatures. Fridges should be below 8oC, and freezers should be at -18oC
7. Thermometer in heated food reads 35˚C (‘good’ image: thermometer in heated food reads 65˚C)
What was wrong: Food kept hot for serving must be stored above 63oC in order to stop potentially dangerous bacteria developing. Food should be regularly checked to ensure it is maintaining its correct temperature.
8. Bowl of rice on the counter (‘good’ image: bowl of rice in the cabinet)
What was wrong: Rice can be dangerous if handled and stored incorrectly. Uncooked rice can contain spores of a certain type of bacteria. These spores can survive cooking and if the rice is not cooled quickly, they can grow and produce a toxin (poison) which causes food poisoning. This toxin is particularly resistant to heating, so re-heating the rice won’t get rid of it. Rice should be chilled as quickly as possible after cooking – within an hour – and discarded if it has not been chilled within this time. Cooked rice should be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
9. Thermometer on the chiller reading 20˚C (‘good’ image: thermometer on the chiller reading 8˚C)
What was wrong: Foods that need to be chilled before serving – like ready-to-eat sandwiches – should be stored below 8˚C in order to prevent dangerous bacteria growing.
10. No lid on the rice bowl (‘good’ image: lid on the rice bowl)
What was wrong: Food that is being stored after being cooked should always be covered to prevent bacteria or anything else getting into it.
11. A mouse on the floor (‘good’ image: no mouse on the floor)
What was wrong: Food businesses must always take adequate steps to control pests. The presence of mice or other vermin can suggest that food isn’t being stored properly so is attracting unwanted visitors.
12. A dirt mark on the wiping cloth (‘good’ image: no dirt on the wiping cloth)
What was wrong: Keeping cloths clean is hugely important for food businesses. Cloths should be changed regularly and not used between areas where different types of food are being prepared, for example raw and ready-to-cook foods.
Did you spot all 12 differences? Tell the Food Standards Agency by tweeting @playitsafefood!
Food Safety Squad
The Food Safety Squad comprises 10 environmental health officers who are acting as food safety ambassadors. They represent the hundreds of environmental health officers around the country who are carrying out extra hygiene inspection on food businesses in preparation for the Games.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter, @playitsafefood. The Twitter page will provide up-to-date information on the campaign as well as practical information for food businesses and visitors.
Safe eating tips for visitors
The Agency’s role is to ensure that food on sale in the UK is safe to eat. The Games period is a very busy time for many food businesses, so we want to make sure that visitors know what to look for when eating out.
Keep it clean
Travelling around a city can be a bit of a dirty business. Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching, cooking or eating food (and always after using the toilet). If washing facilities are thin on the ground, consider using hand wipes or hand gels.
Is it rated?
Local authorities run various hygiene rating schemes that can help you to choose food outlets with good hygiene standards. Look out for stickers on the doors or windows of outlets you are planning to visit, or check ratings using the link below.
Check it out
If you can’t see a hygiene rating sticker, take a look at the staff, equipment and premises. Do they look clean? If food is out on display, is the cold food kept refrigerated? Is raw food separated from cooked food? If you ordered hot food, is it hot and cooked all the way through? If you have any doubts about any of these things, try somewhere else.
Be allergen aware
Not knowing exactly what’s in your food could result in a serious allergic reaction. Always read the labelling and check the ingredient list on pre-packed food. Check for allergy advice statements or boxes. This labelling isn’t compulsory in the UK, so if there isn’t a warning statement don’t assume the product is safe for you to eat. If buying non-prepacked food from self-service counters, delicatessens or cafes, ask the serving staff for information and let them know you have a food allergy or intolerance. And if you aren’t sure about a food or confident in the information you’ve been given by serving staff, don’t risk it.
Tips for food businesses
With the Paralympic Games underway, food business operators could see a dramatic increase in custom. The following suggestions will help businesses ensure they are suitably prepared to provide food that is safe to eat.
Get set...stay safe
Many food businesses are handling, preparing and selling more food during the Games period. If this applies to you, make sure you have adequate chilled or frozen storage at your premises, especially to ensure separation of both raw and cooked foods, and enough disposal space for any additional refuse. Preparing more food usually means more waste. Find out if your local authority or refuse contractor has any changes planned to your refuse collection service and how you can dispose of any extra refuse safely.
Keep your supplies on track
During the Games, suppliers may have to take different or longer routes for deliveries. Don’t get caught out – familiarise yourself with any changes in the delivery patterns of your food suppliers during the Games period. Double-check with your suppliers, warehouses and any others who provide your services to see if they’ll be revising their opening hours or delivery schedules during London 2012.
You can also keep up-to-date with daily transport news from Transport for London (TFL) by signing up to daily bulletins: email email@example.com to subscribe.
Don’t short circuit
Food businesses are heavily reliant on equipment – from fridges and freezers to ovens. Now is the time to check that all your equipment is working correctly. If it isn’t, get it fixed or replaced, or get a spare. It is also advisable to make sure that any warranties are still valid and that you know the emergency contact numbers for the relevant manufacturers or engineers in case your equipment breaks down.