Relationship Between Food Safety and Food Hygiene

What is the relationship between food safety and food hygiene?

In the Food Safety industry, public health is the end goal.  Officers inspect and monitor every business that provides food to customers, using a detailed checklist and ratings system.  Those businesses are responsible for ensuring food safety – making sure nobody gets poisoned.  Or to put it precisely:

“Food safety describes the practice of managing food so that the food is highly unlikely to cause any harm to the end consumer, whether in the short term or long term.”An Introduction to Food Safety (Level 3, Award in Supervising Food Safety).

So how does food hygiene come in?

Food hygiene refers to the practical aspects of handling, storing, and distributing food.  These are the things inspectors will examine during a location visit.  At home, we probably all follow a variation of this guidance.  We’re all aware of the importance of storing milk properly and reheating cooked meat thoroughly.

GOOD food hygiene involves:

  • PROTECTING food from contamination
  • STORING food properly, so that bacteria is unable to multiply
  • DESTROYING bacteria that could come into contact with food
  • REMOVING contaminated food.

The Food Hygiene Ratings system in the UK

If you want to dine out, you can now choose a restaurant and check its Hygiene rating – either online or, in most cases, on the premises.  It’s a brilliant initiative to improve public awareness about food hygiene, as well as incentivising caterers to strive for the top ratings.

The Food Hygiene Ratings system is run by the Food Standards Agency.  It won’t tell you what the risotto tastes like, but it will tell you how carefully the dish has been prepared and stored.

Ratings are based on the basic principles of food hygiene (as above).  An inspector will have checked how the food is prepared, stored, and handled; general cleanliness, including pest control and ventilation; and food safety procedures.  A rating of 3 and above means that food hygiene is generally satisfactory.  5 represents an excellent standard of food hygiene.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning

For an excellent primer in food safety, including the bacteria and causes of food poisoning, consult our Level 1 – Food Safety course.  Everyone who prepares food can benefit from the detail in this course.  Here are some useful tips to help you prevent food poisoning.

  1. Personal hygiene.  Bacteria can be passed through human contact and may remain on hands if they are not properly washed.  If you are serving customers, including vulnerable groups, then you should take great care.
  2. Protective clothing and gloves.  Hair, hands, broken skin and even utensils should be clean or covered to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Cleaning.  A dishwasher cycle on high temperature is best for destroying bacteria.  Raw fruit and vegetables should be cleaned with cold running water (did you know that raspberries and apples have been known to carry e.coli?).  Note that the clothes that you use must be cleaned frequently.  Clothes should also be separated according to their use: dishwashing cloths and floor cleaning cloths should not be muddled up.

How to treat Food Poisoning

Don’t try to self-diagnose or treat Food Poisoning.  Go directly to your GP or out-of-hours.  If you believe it is related to food that has been prepared by a business, you should also report the incident to the Environmental Health department at your local council.


Our online training courses cover food safety in catering, retail, and manufacturing: Level 1 Food SafetyLevel 2 Food Safety in ManufacturingLevel 2 Food Safety in RetailLevel 2 Food Safety in CateringLevel 3 Award in Supervising Food safety HACCP (Hazard Analysis)


ARTICLE SOURCES:Level 1 Food Safety (HL Online Training)Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety (HL Online Training)The Food Standards Agency:

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