Know Your Facts: Childminders and UK Food Regulations

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25-11-2014 12-43-24Proper food hygiene is essential in childminding because children, being younger and without fully developed immune systems, are highly vulnerable to infection.

For this reason, if you are looking to start a childminder business in England, you will need to register with Ofsted. If you’re based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, then you should contact your local authority directly to make sure you meet the required regulations.


Environmental Health Inspections

If Ofsted register you as a food business, you may be subject to a safety inspection by your local Environmental Health department.

This is nothing to panic about, as long as you have good standards of hygiene and take care of areas such as oven cleaning and disposing of out-of-date food. The inspectors will understand that if you are based in your home then you may have pets in the house as well. This is okay as long as you can show that you can keep them out of the kitchen and you clean thoroughly before preparing food.

Similarly, although there are risks involved in doing laundry in the same room as cooking, if you have limited space you can work around this by doing your laundry at a different time of the day.

Help and Advice

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Environmental Health inspectors are not just there to get people into trouble. Their aim is to help you do a good job, and if they find minor problems they will work with you to find appropriate solutions. Ask about the Safer Food, Better Business pack, which is specially designed for childminders. There are also training courses available, however these are not mandatory.

It’s particularly important to be careful about allergens, some of which can be life threatening. The FSA can provide you with a list of allergens you need to declare to parents and older children, plus further information about them too.

Safety Tips

Taking good care over basic tasks, like oven cleaning, wiping worktops and washing your hands, can help you to avoid problems and keep children safe.

Hands should always be washed immediately before preparing food and after any interruption to preparation, such as touching raw food, a child, a pet, laundry, a light switch, or if you blow your nose or go to the toilet. Though this might sound complicated, you’ll soon find that you get into a habit of carrying this out.

If you look after babies, you will have to change them somewhere other than the kitchen. Children who play outside and get themselves covered in dirt should be cleaned in the bathroom. If dirt does get into the kitchen, clean it up immediately and make sure surfaces are properly disinfected.

It’s a good idea to give your kitchen a deep clean every couple of months. If you need your oven cleaned, then don’t forget to bring in a professional oven cleaning service so you can be sure that it’s thoroughly taken care of. This way you can be confident that you’ll meet requirements and the children in your care will remain safe.

If you need your oven cleaned professionally, don’t forget to contact Ovenu today.

 

Credits: Image from BigStock Images.

in Cooking by Rik Hellewell
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