E. coli O157 cross-contamination guidance for food business operators and local authorities

We welcome stakeholder views on the proposed amendments to our guidance document on the control of E. coli O157 and cross-contamination.

About this consultation


This consultation will be of interest to:

  • food businesses where ready-to-eat and raw foods are handled
  • local authority enforcement officers 
  • trade bodies, such as The British Hospitality Association and the British Retail Consortium

Consultation subject

The subject of this consultation is guidance which assists local authorities and all types of businesses that handle both raw foods (that can be a source of pathogens including E. coli O157) and ready to eat foods. This includes best practice around hygiene, separation and safety measures to be taken to avoid cross-contamination.

Consultation purpose 


Following a routine review of the E.coli O157 guidance, the guide has been moved to a new format to increase understanding and accessibility. There have been no changes to the policy, science or law. 


The main changes to the guidance have been:

  • updates to the format to improve accessibility and simplify language (particularly aiding those whose first language is not English)
  • an increased number of diagrams to aid understanding
  • new ‘information’ pop outs 
  • clarification of separation section
  • clarification of chemical disinfection section
  • legal references moved into ‘The law’ boxes

The changes to this guidance have been developed with input from business and local authority representatives, who have been consulted extensively throughout the process. We have determined that a 6-week consultation is proportionate to seek wider stakeholder views. 

We would welcome views from stakeholders on the changes to the guidance. In particular, whether you agree that the revised guidance is an improvement on the current published version of the guidance and whether the revised guidance delivers the improvements outlined above.

Impact of the revised guidance

The changes to the guidance have been designed to provide greater clarity and to enhance readability through simplification, it is difficult to quantify these benefits. The revised guidance has a slightly higher word count which can be quite easily quantified.  

However, the FSA considers that the impact from the higher word count is negligible and does not present a significant burden.  For this reason, we have not attempted to quantify the benefits of the guidance as we believe this would require a disproportionate level of effort.

We would welcome stakeholders’ views on the impact of the guidance and our assessment of this.  It would be helpful, where possible, for stakeholders to provide evidence to support their views.

Consultation document 

Comments and views 


Responses to this consultation should be sent to FoodlawCOP@food.gov.uk by 21 December 2018.