These should be kept out of food preparation areas due to the risk of cross-contamination – this can happen when harmful bacteria are spread onto food from other food surfaces, hands or equipment. You will want to show that where pets can gain access to food preparation areas, procedures are in place to adequately wash and disinfect work surfaces and cooking utensils before any food handling or preparation takes place.
Baby changing facilities
These should also be kept away from food preparation areas. Soiled nappies should not be brought into food preparation areas and should never be placed on work surfaces. If baby changing facilities are needed, you will need to show that you have adequate controls in place to make sure food preparation areas are not contaminated and that effective cleaning and disinfection procedures are in place.
Ideally, laundry facilities should be separate from food preparation areas but this may not be practical in many domestic environments. Where separate facilities are not available, it will be necessary to demonstrate that laundry is not carried out at the same time as food preparation and measures are in place to ensure that detergents and soiled clothing do not come into direct contact with food, work surfaces or cooking utensils. Also, you should ensure that procedures are in place to adequately wash and disinfect work surfaces and cooking utensils before any food preparation takes place.
Your hands can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen and onto food. It is important to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water at each of these times:
• before starting to prepare or handle food
• after touching raw food, especially meat/poultry, fish, eggs and unwashed fruit and vegetables
• after using the toilet or changing nappies
• after touching the bin or laundry
• after blowing your nose
• after touching pets, phones, light switches, door handles and cash registers
Food hygiene courses
Courses are available from various training providers. However, there is no requirement for food handlers to attend formal courses or to acquire food hygiene qualifications. It is important that food handlers have adequate knowledge to prepare and supply food that is safe to eat.
From 13 December 2014, all food businesses including childminders will need to provide allergen information on the foods they sell or provide. Food allergens pose a significant risk to consumers with allergic conditions, which may even be life threatening. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their reduced level of control over the foods they eat.
As a childminder, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have allergen information to provide for the food you serve and that this is accurate, consistent and verifiable. Remember to check the ingredients list of foods you use to make sure allergen information is correct, to avoid triggering an allergic reaction. The provision of allergen information concerns any foods bought from a shop and non-prepacked foods including home-cooked meals. This allergen information should be easily accessible and readily available to parents, who leave or may leave children in your care, and any children in your care who can make their own informed food choices.
There are 14 allergens currently listed under food law that you must declare. These are:
- cereals containing gluten, eg wheat (including spelt and khorasan), rye, barley and oats and their hybridised strains
- crustaceans, eg prawns, crab and lobster
- nuts, eg almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts
- celery (including celeriac)
- sulphur dioxide/sulphites (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre
- molluscs, eg clams, mussels, whelks oysters, snails and squid
Further information on allergen legislation and FSA advice can be found via the link below.
Registered child carers can also discuss these matters and other concerns with their local authority.