Early Years Catering update – Nursery Milk Scheme

What is the Nursery Milk Scheme?

Early Years settings can claim reimbursement for milk, under the Government’s Nursery Milk Scheme. This applies in England, Wales and Scotland, although the scheme is known as Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme in Scotland, and extends to snacks.

What EY settings can apply for this scheme?

With a few exceptions, the settings that can apply for this scheme include:

  • Registered childminders
  • Registered day care providers
  • Local authorities providing day care
  • Those providing day care to children under 5 years in schools
  • Those providing day care in a nursery or crèche for children (under 5 years)

Which children are eligible for free milk, and how much?

Children under 5 years who attend the setting for two or more hours are entitled to 1/3 of a pint of milk each day they attend the setting.

Where can I find more information?

Have a look at the Scheme website for further information: https://www.nurserymilk.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions

I want to know more about catering in an early years setting….

Have a look at our free guide – it covers menu planning, food safety, hygiene and allergens, and provides links to some great free resources for early years cooks.

Click here to access our free resource for Early Years caterers

Level 3 Food Allergy training for Supervisors released by The Safer Food Group

Food safety training experts The Safer Food Group have released a brand-new Level 3 course, aimed at supervisors and managers responsible for implementing allergy safe procedures.

The online, video-based endorsed award is the first of its kind to be created for the UK food industry. The course aims to equip food operators with the vital skills required to risk assess their operations, implement safe processes and manage teams. The video and written content addresses two essential elements of food allergen management, namely prevention of cross contamination and delivery of good communications.

Academic Director, Jonathan Green, stated, ‘We are very excited to be bringing this course to our learners. Whilst consumer focus on good allergen management has increased, food operators have not necessarily been able to access adequate tools to help them put good practice and process in place. 

We undertook an audit of available Food Allergy courses, and realised it was not always clear who existing allergy courses were aimed at, and what their objectives were. We created two distinct courses – a Level 2 course that specifically meets the needs of food handlers, cooks, and front of house teams, and a second, Level 3 course that helps the supervisor, manager or chef through the allergen risk assessment process and enables them to put effective solutions in place.’

Who is this Level 3 Allergy Management course suitable for?

This course is suitable for those responsible for  ensuring safe use of allergenic ingredients in their workplace, including managers, supervisors and chefs. It is suitable for food operations in catering, hospitality, manufacturing, education, health and care settings.

How much does the Level 3 Allergy Management course cost?

The course costs £48 + vat for a single learner, but multi-purchase options are available, which allow course purchase for larger cohorts at £24 + vat per learner.

How long will the course take?

Depending on experience, studying the course itself will take approximately 4 hours. In addition, learners will use resources supplied to complete their own risk assessment and allergy policy. The course concludes with an online exam.

Are there any entry requirements to taking the Level 3 course?

We recommend that learners have previously been trained in allergy awareness to Level 2. The Safer Food Group Level 2 Allergy Awareness course has been developed alongside this course, and learners who have already taken the Level 2 course will be familiar with the format, chapters and terms used. Recap material from the Level 2 course is available to Level 3 learners.

When will Level 3 Allergy Management be available?

The new course is available from 4th March 2022

Is this course accredited?

The course is an endorsed award, accredited by Qualifi, an Ofqual registered awarding body: ref: AFAM3SFG2022, and attracts 6 CPD learning points.

Where can I access the course?

https://www.thesaferfoodgroup.com/allergy-awareness-level-3.php

Where can I get more information?

Email info@thesaferfoodgroup.com for further course information or to discuss partner pricing arrangements.

Access this press release as a PDF

The Safer Food Group’s Guide to Early Years Catering

Why is food hygiene and safety important for Early Years practitioners?

It is important to serve safe, hygienic food to everyone – but in early years settings, it is especially important to ensure little bodies are protected and nourished, and immune and digestive systems can develop safely. Having an awareness of food borne illness and how to prevent it is important for anyone who works in early years.

Do I need a food hygiene qualification for childcare?

According to Section 3.48, Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, March 2021: “Providers must be confident that those responsible for preparing and handling food are competent to do so. In group provision, all staff involved in preparing and handling food must receive training in food hygiene.”

So the simple answer is – if you prepare or handle food, you MUST have received food hygiene training.

What level of food hygiene training do I need for childcare?

This depends on your role – if preparing and serving food is a small part of your role, and someone else is instructing or supervising you, a Level 2 Food Hygiene award should be adequate. If you are running the kitchen, putting processes and plans in place, and supervising others, you might want to look at a Level 3 Food Hygiene award, that gives you some insight into management level skills and a greater background knowledge of food safety.

Where can I get food hygiene training for early years?

If you already work in early years, your employer may have a preferred training provider for food hygiene. If you’re looking for a course yourself, you can choose to study a face to face or an online course. Think about what is important to you before you decide – cost, convenience, being able to recap material and study at your pace, or being able to ask questions?

Look for a course that is designed for early years practitioners, especially at Level 2. Courses such as those offered by The Safer Food Group cover specific situations and details that will be relevant in your role.

Also, consider whether you’ll need any additional training – do you need to learn about Allergen Management, or Nutrition for your setting, for instance? If so, look for a training provider who can cover all of these subjects – you’ll have all your training details held in one place, and you’ll build up a comfortable familiarity with the way the courses work.

I want to know more about catering in an early years setting….

Have a look at our free guide – it covers menu planning, food safety, hygiene and allergens, and provides links to some great free resources for early years cooks.

Click here to access our free resource for Early Years caterers

Food industry trends – buying closer to home

Market vegetable stall copyright 2021 www,thesaferfoodgroup.com

According to 2021 research, British consumers are increasingly looking for British produce; great news for the environment and the economy.

Unsurprisingly, following food shortages in 2020 and 2021, savvy British consumers have been considering alternatives to their supermarket shop.

As well as supply chain issues, consumers have been driven to local producers by concerns about quality, citing a deeper trust in British farmed goods than in imported foods. High profile news stories regarding imported meat containing high levels of antibiotics and chlorine have forced consumers to think more carefully about food quality and production and processing methods.

And environmental concerns have also led shoppers to think about buying local – farms shops and markets have proved a great way to buy direct from producers, as well as providing genuinely seasonal foods.

Record breaking consumer numbers buy British food

This article published by Speciality Food Magazine cites OnePoll research that claims, ‘73% of the public often or always looking specifically for British food when shopping’.

It also revealed a strong level of support for British farming and its quality standards, with the vast majority of respondents wanting trade deals to protect British farmers from being undercut and welfare standards of imported meat to match that of domestically produced food.

The unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic highlighted the need for more secure supply chains – and local businesses responded to support their communities. Producers found creative ways to get their food directly to consumers, through farm shops, co-operatives and box schemes. The benefits of open air markets became clear as a safer shopping environment.

Rising success of the small food business

The economic situation continues to be tough for some food businesses, especially those without a corporate safety net to keep the cash flow going. However, the pandemic has demonstrated how agile and adaptable small businesses have been and continue to be as the rules and landscape shift on a monthly business

Some great examples of small business agility have been:

  • Food retailers taking their sales out into their community, using church halls, delivery services, or even repurposed ice cream vans to get supplies to vulnerable people
  • Businesses recognising and solving community problems – including the micro brewery who provided a reciprocal collection service for food bank items donated by customers of their delivery service. Community engagement has been a strong theme for a lot of food businesses, giving them the opportunity to really get to know and build relationships with their customers, and there is no doubt a number of these initiatives will continue and thrive once the threat of the pandemic has lessened.
  • Artisan producers joining forces to create ‘lockdown luxury’ boxes – sharing storage, packing and delivery resources to reduce cost and environmental impact and increase customer base

Small businesses can suffer from higher proportional overheads, without the economies of scale enjoyed by larger companies. However, they often have the benefit of entrepreneurial spirit, an adaptable and loyal staff body and the agility to change direction quickly and make change happen. In adverse times, these skills will continue to be invaluable and as circumstances develop, the rise of small businesses is very welcome .

Useful links

Food safety training from The Safer Food Group

Produce and Provide – network of local farms and producers across the UK accessible to consumers

National Market Traders Federation – supporting market traders

Love your local market campaign hosted by NABMA

Support organisations for catering and hospitality workers

We know that life in hospitality and catering can be tough. Long hours, unsociable shifts, tricky customers… just some of the reasons your job can leave you feeling blue. When it becomes hard to leave the work stress at work, it’s time to talk to someone.

We’ve created a list of organisations that can help. Feel free to add comments if you work with or have sought help from an organisation you’d like to add to this list

The Drinks Trust is the community for the drinks industry, offering support and services to help its community thrive.

Hospitality Action work to provide hospitality workers with financial, physical and psychological support to help them overcome adversity and get back to work as quickly as possible.

The Care Workers Charity aims to advance the financial, professional and mental wellbeing of social care workers by making grants, signposting to resources and providing access to services.

The Burnt Chef Project is a non-profit social enterprise fully committed to making the hospitality profession healthier and more sustainable.

Hospitality Health is a Scottish organisation that helps those who are in need of support, by providing wellbeing advice and signposting organisations that can help. We hope we can make a difference, even to a few individuals.

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Important Links

RSPH – Mental Health in Hospitality

NHS – Every Mind Matters

The Safer Food Group

Use-by dates and Best Before dates

What is the difference between a Use-by date and a Best Before date?

Jars of crystallised honey Copyright www.thesaferfoodgroup.com 2021

In simple terms, a use by date tells you whether a food should be safe to eat, while a best before date tells you about a food’s quality.

Use by dates appear on foods that are most likely to perish quickly, and cause a threat to health after a relatively short period. This includes meat, fish, dairy products and prepared salads and meals. Harmful bacteria can exist on these foods and multiply over time, so it is vital to follow food safety rules when using these foods.

Waste prevention tip – foods can be frozen up to and on their use by dates, as long as they’ve been stored safely up to that point. You’ll need to cook and eat it within 24 hours when you defrost it.

Best before dates tell you about the quality of a food – after this date, the food may not be harmful to eat, but the flavour or texture might be affected. Best before dates are often used on frozen, tinned and packet foods.

Waste prevention tip – Have a regular check of your food cupboard and make sure you keep foods with shortest best before dates at the front so you don’t forget about them.

Use-by and Best Before video Copyright www.thesaferfoodgroup 2021

To review this and other important food safety important, visit The Safer Food Group and check out our Level 2 Food Hygiene course – vital for all food handlers

Calorie menu labelling – our free guide

What does your food business need to do to meet April 2022 calorie labelling regulations?

Calorie labelling regulations logo

The government has announced that calories will be labelled on menus and food labels in certain ‘out-of-home food businesses’ from April 2022. Out of home refers to business that prepare food for immediate consumption by its customers, such as cafes, restaurants, pubs and take-aways.

What businesses does this affect?

The new legislation means that large businesses with 250 or more employees in England, including cafes, restaurants and takeaways, will need to display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drinks that are prepared for customers. In some circumstances, franchisees are deemed to be a part of their franchisor’s business and therefore employee numbers are calculated across the whole business.

When does it come into force?

The legislation comes into force from 6th April 2022, for the businesses outlined above

How must calorie information be displayed?

Calorie information will need to be displayed at the point of choice for the customer, such as physical menus, online menus, food delivery platforms and food labels

Businesses are also required to display the statement ‘adults need around 2000 kcal a day’ on their menus where food is chosen from a menu, or otherwise on a label where it can be seen by customers when making their food choices. Children’s menus are exempt from displaying the statement referencing daily calorie needs as the calorie requirements of a child vary with age and are less than that of an adult

Why is calorie labelling legislation being brought in?

The measures, which form part of the government’s wider strategy to tackle obesity, are planned to help to ensure people are able to make more informed, healthier choices when it comes to eating food out or ordering takeaways

When must smaller businesses comply with the new calorie labelling legislation?

At the present time, no plans to introduce this legislation into smaller food businesses have been announced

What are the penalties for non compliance?

This has yet to be announced

Are there any exemptions?

Specific exemptions applying to food include:

  • • Temporary menu items on sale for less than 30 consecutive days and a total of 30 days in any year.
  • • Food which is ‘off menu’ and made available or prepared differently to the way it is normally prepared, at the request of the customer.
  • • Alcoholic drinks over 1.2% alcohol by volume.
  • • Condiments which are provided to be added by the consumer (not including condiments which are part of the food served).

The Regulations also specify exemptions for food which is served:

  • • On an international aircraft, train or ferry to or from a country that is not part of the UK.
  • • By a charity in the course of its charitable activities.
  • • At an institution providing education to children under 18 years.
  • • To patients (not for payment) at a hospital or other medical establishment or to residents of a care home or other social care institution.

Anything else we need to know?

At the moment, guidance is still being written. As updates are available, The Safer Food Group will update and add to this post. Our training courses are regularly updated to capture the latest relevant food safety regulations – check out www.thesaferfoodgroup.com for more info. If you would like to learn more about calories and menu planning, have a look at our Level 2 Nutrition course.

Natasha’s Law in health and care settings

What does your setting need to do?

The UK Food Information Amendment – Natasha’s Law – came into force in October 2021. An important development in helping prevent the serious effects of food allergies, this law amendment deals with labelling products that have been packed on premises ready for sale. It was brought into force to strengthen the 2014 Food Information to Consumers legislation, and followed a period of dedicated campaigning by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who tragically lost her life after eating a sandwich containing the allergen sesame. At the time, foods prepared in house and packaged for later sale were not required to be labelled individually.

What is Natasha’s Law and who does it affect?

Natasha’s law applies to any business or food operation that is preparing, packing and then later selling food from the same premises, or from a mobile stall or vehicle. This includes: cafes and coffee shops, takeaway and fish & chip restaurants, sandwich shops, farm shops, as well as work, school and hospital canteens. Voluntary and charity organisations who undertake fundraising events such as bake sales will also need to consider how they package their goods and whether they need to apply the new rules.

How does Natasha’s Law apply in a care or health setting?

Within care and health settings many foods are prepared and served directly to residents and patients – the new rules do not apply to these foods, although they will be covered by existing food safety regulations, including those relating to allergens. Some settings prepare, sell and distribute meals to customers off-site (e.g. ‘Meals-on-wheels’ services); these will typically be covered by regulations for distance selling of food. Where settings prepare and pre-package food for sale to customers – for instance to visitors to their café or restaurant – they will need consider Natasha’s Law and how to apply the correct labelling to those foods.

When does it come into force?

Natasha’s law was created in September 2019, and came into force in October 2021 throughout the UK.

What foods are covered by Natasha’s law?

Any food which is Pre-Packed for Direct Sale (PPDS); that means prepared in-house, wrapped or placed in packaging, ready for the customer. This includes food that customers select themselves, as well as pre-wrapped items that are kept behind a counter.

What are PPDS foods?

Examples of PPDS items include:

  • Sandwiches, pies, burgers, ready meals or cakes/baked goods prepared and packaged by a food business before the consumer selects them
  • Foods prepared and packaged and sold at a market stall
  • Wrapped deli counter goods such as cheese and meats, and boxed salads placed on a refrigerated shelf prior to sale
  • Freshly made pizza or boxed salads from a supermarket deli counter which are packed on site and refrigerated prior to sale
  • Mixed bags of sweets which are made up, packaged and sold on the same premises or from a mobile unit such as an ice cream van.

For further help, use this tool created by the FSA.

What must we do?

All PPDS products will need to be clearly labelled with the name of the food and a full list of all ingredients. Any named allergens (from the 14 named allergens list) must be highlighted within the ingredients list, for example by printing them in bold, italics or a different colour. An exception to this rules is products with a surface area of less than 10cm2 – if this applies to your products, have a look at the FSA website to understand your responsibilties.

What are the penalties for non compliance?

Businesses failing to follow the new rules could face a fine of up to £5,000 per offence. But more importantly, the damage to the reputation of your business if a serious allergy incident occurs is almost impossible to calculate.

What else should I think about?

The death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse highlights the importance of food allergen awareness within all food businesses and operations. As well as considering the physical labelling requirements, food businesses should also take this opportunity to think about their production process and staff training implications. It is vital that your food operation has a clear allergen policy, which allows both staff and customers to understand any risks that are present to allergy sufferers. Staff must fully understand any processes that they are expected to undertake when creating meals that fulfil any allergy-free claims you make, and those who communicate with customers must be able to do so truthfully and confidently.

All Safer Food Group training courses that contain allergy awareness advice include guidance on Natasha’s Law – and our all new Level 2 Allergy Awareness course for food handlers has been entirely updated and relaunched in September 2021, to comprehensively cover this subject.

Whilst Natasha’s law makes information more readily available and therefore easier for staff to communicate accurate ingredients information, the key message for all staff in food preparation is the importance of consistency in and clear communication of ingredients and recipes. Allergen training, whether in-house or with certified training courses, is a vital step in keeping your customers, staff and your business safe.

Our Customers: KSB Recruitment

Safer Food Recruits – Providing quality candidates for catering and hospitality

Birmingham based Catering and Hospitality Recruitment agency KSB Recruitment established by Dawn over 30 years ago. Dawn’s experience in the industry drove her to create an agency that operated differently, offering flexible, tailored solutions for both businesses and candidates.

To this day, KSB pride themselves on offering an outstanding service to both clients and candidates. Being able to send fully trained staff to a client’s establishment is a key part of that service, demonstrating their commitment to providing high quality candidates who can fit neatly into existing teams with high service standards and customer service skills.

We asked Dawn why she wanted to work with us: ‘The Safer Food Group was recommended to us and I was really impressed by what they had to offer. The ease of access for our candidates to undertake the training was a key point for me. Our candidates are busy people and we needed a course that wasn’t too complicated or that took too much time for them to complete; we also needed to ensure they were well equipped with the knowledge to undertake a role where food hygiene is of the utmost importance’

If you are looking for quality talent to support your Catering or Hospitality business, contact Dawn and the team at KSB Recruitment.

Our Customers: Care South

Safer care: providing food, fun and friendship

Care South is a not-for-profit charity and leading provider of quality nursing, residential and dementia care, with 16 care homes as well as Care at Home services, across the south of England.

Care South chose The Safer Food Group to help ensure staff were trained to a high standard, requiring a quality accredited course.

“We know that our residents have led rich and fulfilling lives and we want to keep it that way and ensure there is plenty of food, fun and friendship along the way.

As a Care Provider, we wanted to access Accredited L2 & L3 Food Hygiene and Allergen courses for our catering staff.  Quite a bit of online research took place and The Safer Food Group caught our eye. 

We reviewed the courses and found them informative and engaging.  Marcus and Nick kept us focused throughout the learning process, which we enjoyed.  We knew this would suit our staff group.

The Safer Food Group ticked all the boxes in providing quality, accessible courses at a cost that suited us.  Options to bulk buy courses at discounted prices gives us flexibility to meet the needs of the business.  The platform dashboard is clear and easy to use and the team at customer services are always happy to help and very responsive to emails.

The comfort, safety and well-being of our residents is of paramount importance to us and care is at the heart of everything we do. Making sure are staff are trained to help them do their job to the best of their ability makes this possible.”