Have you ever wondered what the process of getting a Food Hygiene Rating is like? It’s a very simple process and took very little effort on my part.
I looked up our local council’s website online and gave them a call. The lady on the other side put me in touch with the department responsible for food hygiene. I spoke to a lovely lady called Fiona and told her all about WeFiFo and how it works with having paying guests in my home.
Fiona told me that I should register my kitchen as a business with the council – the first step to getting my rating sticker. I asked about when does it become essential to register as a business if I were only doing a few events, Fiona said there were no definitive answers, but to stay on the safe side, it’s best to get registered, then there is no worry. After our short phone conversation, she emailed me a form that asked for details about my kitchen; the type of food business, my name and the address – all very simple. I filled it out and emailed it back to her and we arranged a time for her to come to the kitchen and assess the situation.
Fiona also sent me a few information packs that told me all I needed to know about safe food prep and the correct conditions for safe food prep.
I hurriedly set about making the kitchen as clean as physically possible and stressing about what she might think. I was pleasantly surprised about how chilled she was about everything. She explained that the information packs were targeted at professional kitchens, and a lot of the things required weren’t important to me as my situation is markedly different. She asked me a number of simple questions about how I make sure my food is prepared in a safe manner, a lot of them are just common sense and all of them were mentioned in the documents she sent me. I breezed through the questions and she seemed happy with my responses.
A couple of days later, I was holding my very own 5 out of 5
food hygiene rating sticker in my hands. I felt like a real professional.
The last thing to do was fill out a file that I was given which asked me about how I prepare food in specific scenarios – How do I make sure food is heated through thoroughly? What cleaning products do I use and how often do I wash my hands? I was also given a cooking diary that I should report anything that happened out of the ordinary after each session and was everything in order with my kitchen – all simple stuff. Fiona explained to me that someone can only achieve 2 out of 5 without this paperwork, so I couldn’t wait to fill it out and send it back to her.
I completed the folder in about half an hour and emailed Fiona to tell her the good news. I sent her photographs of my answers and awaited her response. The only thing she came back to me about was that I should only keep food in my fridge for three days, not seven as I had written. I duly noted her request and I promised to never keep food for so long. Fiona was happy, and sent me my rating sticker in the post.
A couple of days later, I was holding my very own 5 out of 5 food hygiene rating sticker in my hands. I felt like a real professional.
The whole process was straight forward and simple. None of the questions were nearly as challenging as I thought they would be, and It was nice to know that the council are there to help you out and not to catch you out. It makes you think about how some restaurants don’t achieve all 5 stars compared to my family kitchen, but I didn’t complain.
I am now 100% certified and ready to go, confident that I am now as safe as I can be in the kitchen.
[Photographs by Timothy Tyndale]