- Health & Safety
- Food Safety
- Occupational Hygiene
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fish! Kitchen Group
Celebrity restaurateur Tony Allan started the fish! empire when he opened his first restaurant fish! in Borough market, the food produce mecca of London, fourteen years ago. Now a thriving restaurant group, with sites that consistently serve around 2000 customers per week, there is a fantastic ethos with regard to safety and hygiene standards.
In House is instrumental in ensuring and maintaining these standards, visiting each restaurant four times a year. The visits include food safety and health and safety inspections, along with BIOSCANNING and food sampling.
These visits are supplemented with ongoing support, both proactive and reactive giving fish! the reassurance that they are always following best practice in compliance matters.
Merchant Taylors’ School
Merchant Taylors' School is an independent school, which caters for 780 children from 12-18 years old - not to mention 140 staff members. Food safety at this prestigious school is the responsibility of Domestic Bursar, Les Chappell.
The young students are in a 'high risk' group, being much more vulnerable to possible food poisoning. Catering in schools therefore requires the highest standards of food hygiene and health and safety practice and Merchant Taylors' School acknowledges the value of professional specialist support in setting and maintaining standards.
“From the Hazard Analysis prepared by In House, we are made aware of the cleaning procedures and standards required for each area. With In House's specialist support there have been considerable improvements in our hygiene procedures, audits, documentation and staff training. Our staff are kept on their toes by the visits and, when there are queries, In House can provide the answers!”.
In House visits Merchant Taylors' School three times a year, during term time, and monitors the cleaning standards with the unique BIOSCANNING system. At the end of each visit, In House provides the school with a written report on the cleanliness throughout the entire catering operation. The Domestic Bursar is very proud of the catering department with a staff of 24. Regular notices are pinned up around the department so that staff, parents and visitors to the school can see, first hand, that Merchant Taylors' are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of their young charges.
Govinda’s catering specialise in pure vegetarian meals, and provide a catering service to schools up and down the country. They serve over 3000 meals a day to primary and secondary school students, and also provide ready meals and catering for external events. They also operate a café and are linked with Omnom restaurant and wellbeing hub in Islington.
There is a perception that vegetarian food is less likely to cause food poisoning than meat-based food. Traditionally our industry has focused a lot of attention on the risks associated with raw meat, but there have been several food poisoning outbreaks associated with vegetables, salads and other vegetarian foods – including Listeria in sweetcorn, E.coli in romaine lettuce, and Salmonella linked to cut up cucumber in pre-prepared meals in recent years.
Initially, when Govinda’s approached In House for support they had some food safety systems in place, but their experienced Managing Director recognised that as the company expanded, they may need some more support in this area. After initial discussions with key members of the catering team, In House firstly developed HACCP plans and a bespoke Food Safety Management System for the school catering part of the business, based on their existing menus. After an initial briefing session with the catering/chef managers of each school, the new systems were introduced. After a few weeks, food hygiene inspections were carried out to all the school sites to assess how the team were doing with the new systems. An inspection was also carried out at the central production unit, which is where they develop many of their new dishes and ready meals.
Follow-up inspections were carried out six months later, and new sites were added in as the catering business grew. BIOSCANNING hygiene monitoring was also carried out – as there is still a risk of cross contamination from raw vegetarian produce if cleaning is not carried out properly.
The company is now taking over several more catering operations in schools, so additional inspections and support will be given as required. It will be important to Govindas that these new sites achieve the same standards as their existing school kitchen operations, so scored food hygiene inspections are a good way to identify if there are any problems. Then any best practice from existing sites can be spread across the whole organisation.
As the ready meals and restaurant/café business grows, In House has developed procedures and HACCP plans as appropriate for the food production. And we are always at the end of the phone or on email if they have any queries or requests. Most of the work is carried out by Hazel Bourne, although the whole team may get involved depending on what help is needed.
“I’ve loved working with Govinda’s – it is a fresh young company with lots of ideas, and I’ve enjoyed having to learn about their style of vegetarian catering, which differs from traditional meat-based menus which I usually work with” said Hazel Bourne, In House Food Safety Advisor.
“The company is very innovative, and has worked hard to develop vegetarian and vegan meals which closely resemble their non-vegan versions. I have had to learn about a range of ingredients which are less familiar to me, and so it has been really interesting to assess any food poisoning risks associated with them.
The team which work in the school catering side are very focused on pupil health and nutrition, but also on pupil safety, so are keen to do well on their food safety inspections. It has been really rewarding to see the catering/chef managers adapt to the new procedures which we introduced, within the challenges of some of the school kitchens they have.
I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas they come up with next – and how we can help them to make a success of their business”
To find out more about Govinda’s catering – visit their website:
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