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Food hygiene blog

10% off all HACCP Level 3 Courses this Black Friday



This Black Friday, Kitchen Tonic is offering 10% off all LEVEL 3 HACCP for catering or maufacturing courses running at our Ealing and Aldgate training venues in Dec 2015. The offer is open to new and previous candidates or their colleagues.


To take advantage of this offer, you will need to enrol by the 28th of November 2015 at - and complete the enrol form and quote the reference code BFQA3CM in the comments information.


Limited places, so book early to avoid dissapointment. First come first served.  You will get a response on Monday 30th Nov to confirm your place on your choosen course. 

HACCP new exam format - for Level 3 HACCP Training Courses



Kitchen Tonic is now providing the new CIEH HACCP Level 3 Training courses in their new examination format. 

The CIEH recently change the format of how candidates are assessed when attending level 3 HACCP course. 


Candidates will no longer be assessed by providing a written assignment. 

The new HACCP exam format is now multiple choice questions. 



Candidates are assessed by an examination paper consisting of 45 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) to be completed in one-and-a-half hours under examination conditions.

The minimum pass mark for a 45 MCQ examination paper is 30 correct answers. Candidates who achieve 38 or more correct answers receive a merit certificate. 

The new exam format applies to both: 

CIEH Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing courses

CIEH Level 3 Award in HACCP in Catering courses

To book your place on our classroom based courses click on the links above according to the course you require. 

If you would like to book a trainer to come to your place of work and deliver training, please contact us for a quote. 

All areas of the UK considered. 


We can also help with HACCP documentation. 

Improve your Food Hygiene Rating

Do you know what local authority environmental health inspectors are looking for when they visit your food business? Does your food business have a poor hygiene rating?

What is a Food Hygiene Rating?  

The food hygiene rating given to a food business reflects the standards of food hygiene found on the date of inspection or visit by the local authority inspectors. The scheme is a Food Standards Agency and Local Authority partnership The food hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality or standards of service. It is a rating of risk to consumers.  

The scheme is run by local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and applies to restaurants, pubs, cafes, pop-up food businesses, markets, home businesses, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other food businesses.

Many consumers today are more than likely to check out your Food Hygiene Rating, which you may have displayed on your front door or window. If you don’t have it displayed, consumers can check out your rating on-line or they could walk away and go to another place, where it is displayed. Customers may also check out your rating on-line prior to making a booking. 

It is not a legal requirement in England (it is in Wales) to display your Food Hygiene Rating, although your Enforcement Officer may recommend you do so. If food businesses fail to display ratings in Wales, the company is fined. It will also become compulsory in Northern Ireland in 2016 to display ratings. 

Food Hygiene Ratings have replaced the ‘Scores on Doors’ rating system since 2012. The Ratings are expressed in a value of O to 5. 

The ratings are:

5 - Very good 

4 - Good 

3 - Generally satisfactory 

2 - Improvements necessary 

1 - Major improvement necessary 

0 - Urgent improvement necessary 

As part of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, at the end of inspections, the business will be given one of the six ratings based on certain criteria. These are set out below.


How are food hygiene ratings calculated?


When the Enforcement Officer from the Local Authority carries out an inspection, there are many different things the look at and look for. There are 3 main categories. 

The first category the officer is looking at the hygienic handling of *food. This includes the preparation and cooking of food, as well as storage of food products and cooling and reheating of food products.    

The second category is the cleanliness and the condition of the facilities. This section covers, cleaning, pest control, hand washing facilities and maintenance.  

The third section covers how well the business is managed! Here the officer will check if systems are in place to protect food safety, such as a Food Safety Management Systems and HACCP plans. They will check if your staff follow good hygiene rules.

Wales has seen significant improvements in ratings since the introduction of the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013, where it is a legal requirement to display ratings. If not, the food business will faced with a fine. 

How can I improve my Food Hygiene Rating?

Your rating will stay with you until your next inspection. This could vary between 6 months to 3 years. Great if you have a rating above 3. But what if you have a rating below 3? Would you like help improving your risk rating? Or are you happy with your risk rating and would like to maintain your quality standards. Call us 020 3371 1516 and ask about our food hygiene audits. Prices start from £350/visit. 

We also provide documentation services such as HACCP and food safety policies.  

At Kitchen Tonic we have helped our clients drive up food safety standards in the work place, through our training and food safety assessments. Our clients "Food Hygiene Ratings" have improved from 0 or 1 to 3 stars and from 3 or 4 to 5 stars and in one case 0 to 5. We maintain client confidentiality at all times. Our clients include well known high street catering, hospitality and retail companies. 

*Food refers to any food or drink products that you serve to customers including ice. 

Do you serve rare burgers?


Please note this infomation is for food business owners. The following information is not applicable to home cooking. 

The Food Standards Agency has today published details of a proposed new approach to the preparation and service of rare (pink) burgers in food outlets. 

The increased popularity of burgers served rare has prompted the FSA to look at how businesses can meet this consumer demand while ensuring public health remains protected.



The FSA’s long-standing advice has been that burgers should be cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat left inside. This is because bugs can be present in the burger and can only be killed by cooking all the way through.


However, the FSA recognises the steadily increasing trend in the preparation and sale of rare gourmet burgers in catering outlets. When the FSA Board meets in September, they will consider the range of controls businesses should take into account when they are considering serving rare burgers.


These controls should be in place throughout the supply chain and businesses will need to demonstrate to their local authority officer that the food safety procedures which they implement are appropriate. Examples of some of these controls are:


Sourcing the meat only from establishments which have specific controls in place to minimise the risk of contamination of meat intended to be eaten raw or lightly cooked.

  • Ensuring that the supplier carries out appropriate testing of raw meat to check that their procedures for minimising contamination are working.
  • Strict temperature control to prevent growth of any bugs and appropriate preparation and cooking procedures.
  • Providing consumer advice on menus regarding the additional risk from burgers which aren’t thoroughly cooked.

The proposals are contained in a board paper published today and subject to approval by the FSA Board at its next meeting on 9 September. Following the Board decision, the FSA will work closely with local authorities and the food industry to assess whether there is a need for further guidance in this area.


Professor Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Food Standards Agency, said: 'We are clear that the best way of ensuring burgers are safe to eat is to cook them thoroughly but we acknowledge that some people choose to eat them rare. The proposals we will be discussing with the FSA board in September strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining consumer choice.'


In places where people eat out, the food industry is able to implement strict controls for burgers which are intended to be eaten rare, and this helps to minimise the risk of people getting ill. However, the advice for cooking burgers at home remains to cook thoroughly all the way through until no pink meat remains.

Read more by clicking here

Source The Food Standards Agency 

COSHH Training Courses


Due to customer demand Kitchen Tonic is now offering COSHH training courses:


The CIEH level 2 course provides advice and guidance on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) for employees.


More course details can be found by clicking on this link Level 2 Award in Principles of COSHH


Hire a COSHH trainer

Our Trainers can come to you and train your staff on-site or, you could join in on one of our open to public courses in London. 


To book one of our COSHH trainers to come to you contact us on:

Tel: 020 3371 1516


Or fill in this form 

To book on a classroom based COSHH course click here

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