How long should Food Safety records be kept for?

How long should Food Safety records be kept for?

Maintaining food hygiene is not only essential from a practical food safety point of view, it is also important from the theoretical angle and this means that accurate records must be kept. This applies to all sections of the food chain

Current Food Safety regulations

Currently in the UK, the main pieces of legislation that have to be taken into consideration are Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, the Food Safety Act of 1990, and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

How legislation will change and how the changes will affect those involved in the food and drink industry will no doubt be complex. For smaller businesses that do not have their own in-house team of specialists, it is recommended that the services of a firm of competent food safety consultants should be sought for appropriate guidance.

The importance of HACCP guidelines

In January 2006, new food hygiene legislation came into power which essentially said that all UK and EU food and drink operations had to install food safety management systems that were based on the principles of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) system, including the upkeep of food records and documentation.

As well as showing that food has been produced safely, the HACCP system states that records must include certain specifics of the original HACCP plan. These specifics include things like information regarding staff, the descriptions of food and food products, flow charts, the analysis of hazards and corrective actions taken.

The details are extensive and can prove challenging to the uninitiated, which is why it’s recommended that you work with a good team of external food safety consultants.

Guidance from the FSA

Food Safety Legislation declares that records are kept on premises for a minimum of six months and should be accessible within 24 hours for a period of up to two years. These records do not have to be in the form of hard copies but can be in digital format.

While all EHOs work to the same set of rules and regulations, knowing when they will take action on certain issues can be affected by region. Having access to good online food safety training and working with a firm of reliable food safety consultants who can intermediate with local EHOs can be of considerable benefit.