Charlie Khan, who runs SMA Convenience Store in Sheffield, rang with two questions. At what temperature was he obliged to store dairy products? And how often should he check them? (Answers: between 1 and 8ºC and most retailers go for somewhere in the middle, and you should check twice daily.)
He was trying to fill out a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme form he had received from his council.
I did a spot of research and discovered that the Food Standards Agency is working in partnership with some local authorities to introduce this scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Food Hygiene Information scheme in Scotland. Each local authority can choose whether it wants to take part or not - this means not all of you will get these forms. And some local authorities choose to run their own local schemes (often referred to as ‘scores on the doors’ schemes), in which case you might get a different form, or even a visit.
As I reminded Charlie, running temperature checks helps you to keep an eye on the state of your cabinets (fluctuating temperatures might mean that you need a service), and it reminds you to look at date codes and rotate stock.
Keeping a log also means that you have evidence of due diligence should you get a customer complaining to you or, worse, reporting you to the environmental health office.