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Over 530 million British pounds were spent on sandwiches, rolls and baguettes in the UK in 2021 according to statistics. Sandwiches, rolls and baguettes are often written in the shorthand form of SRB. There was a large increase of approximately £156 million in the sale of SRB in comparison to 2020. Whilst these numbers are significant, they are actually not too huge when you compare the overall spending on convenience foods.
Whilst the money spent on SRBs is significant, it’s not surprising given that over 3,000,000,000 sandwiches are sold by UK retailers or catering outlets each year. Britain’s biggest sandwich retailer by monetary value is Subway, which has shot ahead of the likes of Tesco, Greggs and Marks and Spencer. Despite bringing in the most money, Tesco actually sells more sandwiches than Subway.
So, with the huge popularity of sandwiches in the UK, those making and selling sandwiches to customers must be knowledgeable when it comes to food hygiene. Food hygiene in sandwich shops is incredibly important given they handle goods that are consumed by people daily, sometimes on the premises and often away from it.
Sandwich shops, like other food retailers, are inspected by the Local Authority Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) for the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. If the sandwich shop’s hygiene practices are not up to scratch, this will be reflected in its food hygiene rating. This rating must be displayed within the sandwich shop and/or in its window. A poor score would undoubtedly turn customers away, which will have a detrimental effect on takings and profits.
Food safety and hygiene legislation to follow for sandwich shops
In the UK, all food businesses must follow food safety and hygiene legislation, including sandwich shops, to ensure that the shop’s customers are safe when eating their sandwiches and other products.
There are several enforceable laws to protect consumers:
- The Food Safety Act 1990
– This Act provides a framework for all food and drink establishments to follow. The Act ensures that cafés and other businesses do not put anything in food, remove anything from food, or treat food in ways that would mean it could be damaging to the health of those eating it. It also ensures that sandwich shops and other establishments serve or sell food that is of the substance, nature and quality that customers should expect and that food is labelled, presented and advertised in a way that is not misleading or false.
- The Food Standards Act 1999
– This Act establishes the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as the body that oversees food safety laws and legislation in the UK. Its main goal is to protect public health when it comes to food and gives the FSA the power to act in the consumers’ best interests during all stages of food production, processing and supply.
- The Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations:
– The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
– The Food Hygiene Regulations (Scotland) 2006
– The Food Hygiene Regulations (Wales) 2006
– The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006
- The Food Information Regulations 2014
– These regulations stipulate that businesses must provide allergen information if a food contains any of the 14 listed allergens.
– These were amended by the Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 to include Natasha’s Law.
Natasha’s Law came into force on 1 October 2021. This law is the legacy left following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a baguette from Pret a Manger. Natasha’s Law is something that will have affected sandwich shops considerably when it came into force. They will have had to change their way of working to ensure that they comply with the law.
Natasha died after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette that she bought from Pret at Heathrow Airport in July 2016. On her flight, she began to feel ill and suffered a cardiac arrest. The baguette contained sesame baked into the dough which caused her body to go into anaphylactic shock. Despite her father administering two EpiPen injections, Natasha died the same day. Sesame was not listed as an ingredient on the packaging.
Before Natasha’s Law came into force, food establishments such as sandwich shops like Pret did not need to label food with allergens if they were made on the premises. These foods are called prepacked for direct sale, or PPDS. They can be made and packaged at the same place it is sold or offered and placed in the packaging ready for sale. It includes foods from display units or fridges (as is the case with Pret a Manger and other sandwich shops) as well as other products from behind the counter or sold at temporary and mobile outlets.
It’s important to note that this law relates to packaged foods only. If food isn’t packaged, it doesn’t require labelling but the allergen information must still be readily available to the consumer. If a sandwich is made specifically at the request of a customer, it does not need labelling with allergens.
Some examples of PPDS food include:
- Sandwiches which are packaged on-site before a customer orders or selects them.
- Fast food that has been packaged before it is ordered. This includes products such as doughnuts, sausage rolls and cakes.
- Samples that are freely distributed but which were previously packaged on-site.
- Products that are packaged ready for sale such as pasta pots, salads and pizzas.
- Specially commissioned products such as sandwich platters for birthdays, weddings and other occasions.
The labelling must include:
- The name of the food item.
- The ingredients list.
- Any of the 14 allergens required by law listed and emphasised.
If Natasha’s own law had been around to protect her, she would be alive today. Her father said:
“If Pret a Manger was following the law, then the law was playing Russian Roulette with our daughter’s life.”
What happens if the legislation is not followed?
If a sandwich shop does not follow food safety legislation it can cause illness, harm and even death for its customers. There are also legal consequences regardless of this. These consequences include closure orders, fines and even imprisonment for those responsible for breaches of food safety laws.
A sandwich shop owner named Mohammed Patel, from Batley, was fined over £4,000 for 17 food hygiene offences and was banned from running any kind of food business in the future. Patel was the owner of Deli Sensi, a company in Dewsbury, with his offences relating to two of his premises, one at Bretton Street in Dewsbury, the other at Field Lane in Batley.
His Field Lane premises were closed by EHOs in October 2015 due to a rat infestation in the food production area. The premises were in a filthy condition and there was no hot water on site. Some of his other offences included no food safety management system, a lack of training, providing false or misleading information and using an unsuitable delivery vehicle for the transport of sandwiches to shops.
His total fine was £4,250 and he was also given a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years. He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work as well as being prohibited from managing any food business in the future.
Aside from legal action, a sandwich shop, if not ordered to close like Mohammed Patel’s business, will suffer in other ways:
- Reputational damage
A sandwich shop will suffer from negative publicity as a result of any legal action or word of mouth due to breaches in food safety legislation. This can impact the trust that customers have in the shop.
- Loss of customers
As a result of reputational damage or due to a poor food safety rating, customers may avoid the sandwich shop. This will lead to reduced profitability which can have devastating financial consequences for a business.
- Increased scrutiny
If a sandwich shop has previously breached food safety legislation, it may be subject to increased scrutiny from the authorities. This will likely mean additional audits and inspections.
- Loss of licences
Depending on the severity of the violations, a sandwich shop may lose its licence to operate. This is a devastating outcome for a business and can lead to its complete closure, as with Mohammed Patel’s sandwich shop business.
Staff training on food hygiene for sandwich shops
Staff training on food hygiene in sandwich shops is a legal requirement. By law, all sandwich shops must make sure that those who prepare, handle and sell food are trained and supervised in food hygiene. This does not mean that every worker in a sandwich shop must have their own food hygiene certificate, however. But having food safety training and certification is the best way to show EHOs as well as the sandwich shop’s customers that it is taking food safety and hygiene seriously. It also provides evidence of due diligence should there be an investigation for a breach in food safety legislation further down the line.
Sandwich shop staff should have food hygiene training that is appropriate for their tasks, the area in which they work and relevant to their level of responsibility.
It should include training on:
1. Personal hygiene
Staff should have training on the importance of handwashing, not working when ill and covering cuts and wounds.
2. Storing ingredients and pre-prepared goods
Staff should have training on how to store ingredients correctly including separating raw and cooked ingredients, and temperature control.
3. Preparing sandwiches
Staff should be trained appropriately on how to avoid cross-contamination, cooking and baking sandwich fillings or rolls thoroughly and ensuring that food is not left out at room temperature for too long.
4. Cleaning and sanitising preparation areas, display areas and serving areas
Sandwich shop staff should be trained on how to clean areas properly including how to clean different surfaces and sandwich preparation equipment, and how to use cleaning products and cloths safely.
5. Managing food safety
Sandwich shop staff should know the principles of hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) – a systematic approach to identifying any hazards and controlling potential hazards in producing sandwiches and other products.
There are different levels of food safety and hygiene certification:
- Level 1
Level 1 is an introduction to food hygiene practices. This training is typically for those who handle low-risk foods such as foods that are already in packaging or already pre-prepared on-site. This level of certification is useful for those working on tills selling pre-packaged sandwiches and other pre-packaged foods.
- Level 2
Level 2 is a basic food hygiene certificate. This is a good choice of certification for staff who prepare, make and handle sandwich ingredients. Most sandwich shop workers will need Level 2 certification, particularly those who work in the sandwich preparation area or who package up sandwiches that have been made.
- Level 3
Level 3 is classed as an intermediate food hygiene certificate. This is for those who have significant responsibilities within the sandwich shop such as the owner, manager and supervisors as well as those involved in food safety management and HACCP systems.
Whilst this initial training is important, sandwich shop staff should also ensure that they refresh their food safety and hygiene training every couple of years or so, especially if there have been any changes to the legislation, as with Natasha’s Law.
For most people, , food hazards are something that we are naturally aware of in our day-to-day lives. However, the level of awareness of food hazards needed is different when you are working in a sandwich shop. The FSA describes a food hazard as “something that could make food unsafe or unfit to eat”. The hazards can either be biological, chemical, physical or allergenic.
Biological food hazards are microorganisms or other living organisms. Some microorganisms can cause disease or illness in humans if they are consumed through contaminated food. The most common biological hazards in food include bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
Certain bacteria, such as salmonella, campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli (E. coli), can cause food poisoning when they are present in contaminated food. Salmonella is typically found in raw or undercooked eggs, poultry and meat. Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in ready-to-eat foods like deli meats, which are common sandwich fillings in sandwich shops and can cause severe illness, especially in pregnant women and those with poor immune systems. E. coli is more commonly found in undercooked beef or contaminated vegetables.
Viruses such as norovirus and hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food and cause gastrointestinal illness.
Parasites such as cryptosporidium and Toxoplasma gondii can be found in contaminated food and cause illness in humans.
Some types of fungi can produce toxins that contaminate food and cause illness such as Aspergillus flavus which produces the toxin aflatoxin.
Chemical food hazards refer to harmful substances that can contaminate food and cause illness or disease when consumed. Chemical food hazard substances can occur naturally in the environment or be added to food either purposefully or accidentally.
Some chemical food hazards include:
Pesticides are chemicals used in farming to control pests and diseases in crops. If used improperly or in excess, they can contaminate food and cause health problems. In a sandwich shop, this may apply to ingredients in sandwich fillings such as salad and vegetable-based ingredients.
- Heavy metals
Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury, can contaminate food through soil and water pollution, or from the use of contaminated packaging or equipment.
- Food additives
Certain food additives, such as artificial sweeteners, colours, preservatives and flavourings can cause adverse reactions in some people, particularly if they are used more than what is considered safe.
- Contaminants from packaging
Chemicals from packaging materials such as plasticisers and bisphenol A (BPA) can migrate into foods and cause health problems.
Physical food hazards refer to foreign objects or materials that may contaminate food during the production process either accidentally or intentionally. These hazards can cause harm to customers such as choking, cuts, and causing damage to teeth.
Physical hazards include:
- Glass or metal fragments
These can make their way into food during the production process such as if a glass jar or metal equipment is broken.
- Stones or dirt
These hazards can occur if food is not properly washed before preparing it or not properly sorted. Vegetables and salads are common places where these hazards occur. Sandwich shop workers should ensure that they wash and prepare such items carefully before using them in sandwich fillings.
- Bone fragments
Meat and fish products are prone to this physical hazard if they are not properly removed during processing. Many sandwich shops will not process meat and/or fish directly in the shop. Rather, they will likely purchase pre-prepared items such as sandwich fillings. However, the sandwich shop workers should still be aware of this potential hazard even if this is the case.
- Plastic or rubber materials
These hazards can be introduced during food packaging or equipment used during processing or handling.
- Jewellery, hair or nails
If employees do not follow good food safety practices including good self-hygiene, hairnets, properly fitting clothing and removing jewellery before preparing food, these items can find themselves in the food being prepared.
To prevent contamination or physical hazards, sandwich shops should always use reputable suppliers for their fresh ingredients. They should ensure that the suppliers screen their products including sieving, filtering, washing or detecting any metal fragments that have found their way into the raw ingredients.
When the supplies arrive, sandwich shop staff should check the packaging and ensure that it is in good condition and is not dirty or damaged. Once the packaging is opened, the sandwich shop workers should check for any infestations such as flour weevils if the sandwich shop bakes its own bread. Sandwich shop owners should also inspect machinery and utensils regularly for wear and tear. Regular maintenance should be carried out and any damaged items should be replaced.
Allergenic hazards in food are those which can cause an allergic reaction in people with food allergies. Allergens are typically proteins that are found in certain foods, and when someone with an allergy consumes them, their immune system reacts by releasing histamines and other chemicals that can cause mild to severe symptoms, including anaphylaxis which can ultimately lead to death.
Sandwich shops are often a huge risk for those with serious allergies due to the ingredients used and the increased risks of cross-contamination, particularly with gluten and egg-containing products. Again, Natasha’s Law has highlighted one such instance where allergenic hazards are found in sandwich shops like Pret a Manger.
Some of the most common allergenic hazards in food include:
- Peanuts and tree nuts.
- Milk and dairy products.
- Wheat and gluten.
As mentioned, food safety laws mean that certain allergens must be emphasised and clearly labelled on the packaging and that food establishments like sandwich shops must also have allergy information available for customers on the items that they make and sell. There must also be proper allergen management controls in place. Many sandwich shops also provide allergen-free options such as making gluten-free, wheat-free or egg-free products for their customers.
Sandwich shops must follow the 4Cs of food hygiene to best prevent and avoid food hazards.
The 4Cs are:
According to the Food Standards Agency, a lack of proper cleaning is one of the most common reasons why a food business like a sandwich shop is prosecuted. Cleaning is essential as it prevents harmful pathogens or cross-contact allergens from spreading, getting where they shouldn’t, and contaminating foods. Cleaning also discourages pests from making a home on the premises.
Sandwich shops should have detailed cleaning schedules as well as cleaning procedures that ensure that the different areas of the shop are thoroughly cleaned. This includes any food preparation areas, food storage areas and serving areas. Additionally, staff facilities such as washrooms and toilets should also be properly cleaned.
Many sandwich shops use a ‘clean as you go’ cleaning system whereby the staff clean up continually as they work before doing one final clean at the end of the day.
Most sandwich shops make their goods on the premises rather than being simply a shop front for pre-packaged goods. Sometimes, sandwich shops cook their own sandwich fillings including hot items like bacon, sausages and eggs. This means that any cooking must be done correctly before food is sold to customers. If a sandwich filling is undercooked, it can mean that it is not safe to eat and could cause illness such as food poisoning if someone eats it.
Foods must be cooked for the correct amount of time at the correct temperature to ensure that any harmful bacteria that are present in the food are killed. Sandwich shops should also follow any food preparation guidelines on packaging (if present) and ensure that it is piping hot during cooking.
Nearly all foodborne illnesses happen as a result of cross-contamination when harmful allergens or pathogens are transferred into food from surfaces, utensils, between foods and from person to food. Cross-contamination of bacteria and viruses often results in what people call ‘food poisoning’. When referring to allergens, the term ‘cross-contact’ is more often used. It only takes a microscopic amount of allergen to cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Aside from pathogens and allergens, cross-contamination can occur with chemicals such as those used in cleaning, especially ones that are sprayed into the air where they can settle on food.
Sandwich shops must take cross-contamination and cross-contact extremely seriously. They often pose a greater risk of cross-contact than some other food and drink establishments due to their layouts and size. Products like flour easily fill the air and drift across surfaces. This can mean that a wheat-free or gluten-free sandwich suddenly has particles of flour either within it or on its surface. Due to this risk, many sandwich shops do not offer products that are deemed completely allergen-free unless they sell pre-packaged items that were not made on the premises.
Sandwich shops should take the risks seriously and should have the following strategies in place:
- All workers must practise good personal hygiene.
- There should be separate areas for utensils and equipment if dealing with allergens.
- Equipment and utensils should be thoroughly cleaned between uses.
- Food should be stored correctly as per the guidance below.
- Cleaning should be consistent and cautious.
Sandwich shops by their very nature sell chilled products. Sandwiches and sandwich fillings must be chilled correctly and remain at safe temperatures whilst on display. Whilst chilling does not kill harmful bacteria, it does slow down their growth meaning they should not grow to unsafe quantities. When food isn’t chilled properly, it enters the ‘danger zone’. This encourages pathogens to grow and increases the risk of food poisoning.
To ensure the sandwich shop’s goods are properly chilled, the following should be in place:
- The fridges must be at 5°C or lower.
- Any freezers must be at -18°C or lower.
- If the sandwich shop uses raw meat, it should be stored correctly in containers at the bottom of the fridge.
- Frozen foods should be defrosted in a fridge overnight before use.
- The instructions on the packaging of any foods or raw ingredients regarding chilling must be followed.
- The sandwich shop workers should ensure that the fridge and freezers are emptied and cleaned regularly of any spoiled or out-of-date foods.
Personal hygiene in sandwich shops
Since the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, many more people have been aware of their own personal hygiene and how to wash their hands properly. Sandwich shop workers often use their hands in their work, including cutting bread, filling sandwich rolls with fillings and packaging sandwiches for display or customers. As such, practising excellent personal hygiene is of the utmost importance – and consists of much more than simply washing hands whilst singing ‘Happy birthday’. Regulation 852/2004 of the food safety laws stipulates the importance of having high standards in this regard.
Handwashing stations should be present within the sandwich shop. These sinks should be dedicated handwashing sinks and should be accessible to food handlers, preferably within or adjacent to food preparation areas. They should be equipped with hot and cold running water, soap and single-use hand towels or hand dryers. Separate sinks should be available for food preparation purposes such as washing vegetables and salad items.
As well as handwashing, personal hygiene includes clothing, hair, jewellery, smoking, habits and illness. If sandwich shop workers do not take good care of their personal hygiene, the sandwiches can end up contaminated with biological and physical hazards directly or through cross-contamination. Every staff member in a sandwich shop should be trained in personal hygiene.
- Direction on how to wash hands thoroughly and properly before handling any foods or ingredients as well as washing hands after handling allergens and raw ingredients.
- Having long hair tied back and secured with a hairnet. This also includes beards.
- Having nails that are short, natural and free from nail varnish.
- No watches or jewellery should be worn. Some sandwich shops make an exception for a plain wedding band.
- Toiletries used should not be strongly scented, including perfumes.
- Workers should wear suitable clean and practical clothing. In a sandwich shop, this may include an apron, overall, hat and gloves.
- Appropriate clean footwear that is slip-resistant, preferably with no laces to prevent trips and falls.
- Chewing gum, smoking on breaks and touching the hair and face should also be discouraged.
When it comes to illness, sandwich shop workers must report their illness to the manager and not attend work. This is especially important for stomach viruses such as norovirus. A worker should not return to work in the shop until 48 hours have passed since they last vomited or had diarrhoea in gastrointestinal illnesses. For cuts and sores, brightly coloured plasters should be used to cover them, even if no infection is present.
Food allergens in sandwich shops
Food allergens are a real concern in sandwich shops. Allergens can cause severe allergic reactions and even life-threatening symptoms for customers with allergies. A food allergy is where the body reacts to a food due to an antibody named Immunoglobulin E (IgE). This antibody can cause a variety of symptoms, usually beginning within two hours of eating the food but often almost immediately. Essentially, the body is treating the allergen as a pathogen – an ‘invader’ – and an immune response happens. This is the allergic reaction. Some people experience hives, itching and swelling of the tongue and/or lips. Others may experience stomach cramps, and an itchy nose or eyes. The most intense reaction is anaphylaxis, where swelling blocks the airway and the blood pressure drops. It is a ‘shock’ reaction to the allergen.
Thankfully, UK legislation means that there are specific regulations in place to address allergen labelling and provide customers with clear information. As mentioned, one significant development regarding this is Natasha’s Law.
Under UK law, 14 allergens must be clearly identified if they are present in a food product. Many people call these the ‘Big 14’.
- Cereals containing gluten such as wheat, rye and barley.
- Crustaceans such as prawns, crabs and lobsters.
- Nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts and pistachios.
- Sesame seeds.
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentrations above 10mg/kg or 10 mg/L).
- Molluscs such as mussels, clams and oysters.
Sandwich shops must be aware of these allergens and label their products diligently to not only comply with the law but also to protect their customers. Failure to provide accurate allergen information can have serious consequences for both customer safety and legal compliance as well as the business’s reputation.
The most common allergens encountered in sandwich shops are gluten (from wheat-containing bread), eggs (in egg-based fillings or mayonnaise), milk (in cheese or dairy-based spreads), mustard (in mustard-based sauces) and nuts (commonly used in sandwich fillings or toppings. However, it’s important to note that any of the 14 allergens listed above could be present in many sandwich ingredients and therefore comprehensive allergen management is vital. In the case of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the allergen was sesame which was an ingredient in the bread of the baguette.
To ensure compliance with allergen regulations, sandwich shops should establish robust procedures, such as:
- Supplier Verification
Obtain accurate allergen information from ingredient suppliers to ensure correct labelling.
- Allergen Management
Implement procedures to prevent cross-contamination, such as separate preparation areas, utensils and storage for allergen-free ingredients.
- Staff Training
Train employees about allergens, proper handling practices, and the importance of accurate allergen labelling.
- Clear Communication
Display clear signs informing customers about potential allergens present in the sandwich shop and encourage them to ask staff for detailed information about allergenic ingredients.
Unlike pathogens such as bacteria, allergens are not affected by heating or cooling. As such, sandwich shops should take extra care when handling allergens and proceed with caution if a customer reports an allergy.
By prioritising allergen management and complying with regulations like Natasha’s Law, sandwich shops can ensure the safety and well-being of customers with food allergies while maintaining legal compliance and building trust with their customers.
Safely storing food in a sandwich shop
Proper storage of food in a sandwich shop is crucial for maintaining food safety, preventing food spoilage and minimising the risks of foodborne illnesses.
There must be stringent food storage systems in place in sandwich shops, including:
– Perishable ingredients such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products and prepared sandwiches should be refrigerated at or below 4°C to slow down bacterial growth.
– The refrigerator should be set to the appropriate temperature and monitored regularly with a thermometer with the temperature recorded.
– Raw meats should be stored separately from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination.
– Airtight containers or wrapping should be used to maintain the quality of the food and prevent odours from transferring between foods.
– Freezing extends the shelf-life of ingredients and even prepared sandwiches.
– Food should be wrapped tightly in moisture-proof and airtight packaging to prevent freezer burn.
– Items should be labelled and dated to ensure proper rotation. They should be used within the recommended storage time for best quality.
– Freezers should be kept at temperatures at or below 18°C.
- Dry storage
– Non-perishable items such as canned goods and condiments should be kept in dry, cool and well-ventilated areas away from direct sunlight.
– These items must be kept off the floor with at least a six-inch gap to facilitate cleaning and prevent pest infestations.
– Food should be stored in proper food storage containers or their original packaging if this is tightly sealed to maintain freshness and prevent any contamination.
- FIFO (First In, First Out)
– This system should be implemented to ensure that stock is rotated and minimise the risks of using spoiled out-of-date ingredients.
– Newly received or prepared items should be placed behind older ones to ensure older products are used first.
- Allergen separation
– Any allergenic ingredients should be stored separately from other ingredients to avoid accidental contamination.
– Allergenic ingredients or products should be clearly labelled and stored separately from other ingredients to prevent cross-contact.
- Proper shelving and storage organisation
– The fridge, freezer and dry storage areas should have clearly labelled shelves or sections for different food categories.
– There should be a good airflow with overcrowding avoided. Space should be left between items to allow proper air circulation and temperature control.
– The storage areas should be cleaned and sanitised regularly to prevent any build-up of contaminants or bacteria.
Staff should be trained on proper food storage procedures and should monitor and record the storage temperatures regularly to ensure that food safety regulations continue to be met. The food storage areas should be inspected regularly with any issues addressed promptly. This will help maintain the quality and safety of the food in the sandwich shop.
Safely serving food in a sandwich shop
Serving food safely in a sandwich shop is essential to prevent foodborne illnesses and to ensure that customers are satisfied.
Sandwich shop workers must ensure that the sandwiches and other foods they serve are handled correctly, including:
- Personal hygiene
All food handlers must maintain high standards of personal hygiene, as mentioned above, including regular handwashing. Employees should also wear clean clothing and use disposable gloves when necessary.
- Utensils and equipment
Employees should use utensils to handle food where necessary or appropriate and should ensure that they are using clean equipment when preparing fresh sandwiches. They should also regularly clean any food contact surfaces in the sandwich shop.
- Temperature control
Some sandwich shops offer hot sandwich fillings. If this is the case, hot foods should be served at a temperature of at least 63°C to ensure that they are safe to eat. Cold sandwiches should be chilled at or below 4°C as described above. Sandwiches should not be kept at room temperature before they are served to customers.
- Allergen awareness
As mentioned above, employees should be allergy aware when serving sandwiches to customers.
- Display and packaging
Sandwiches that are displayed before they are served should be kept in refrigerated display units with appropriate packaging materials to maintain the quality of the food and prevent any contamination.
- Self-service consideration
If the sandwich shop offers self-service for condiments or toppings, this area should be monitored regularly to replace and replenish items to ensure that they are fresh and to prevent contamination. Napkins and utensils should also be provided in dispensers or individually wrapped to ensure they are hygienic.
All food contact surfaces and equipment should be cleaned regularly and staff should be trained on proper techniques for cleaning both before and after serving food to the sandwich shop’s customers.
Waste management in a sandwich shop
Sandwich shops often produce substantial waste including food waste and packaging waste. Handling the waste effectively in a sandwich shop is essential as, if it is poorly managed, it can result in problems with pests. Waste also increases the presence of bacteria and viruses. Food that is not disposed of correctly can also rot, which will increase the risks of pests as well as cause an unpleasant aroma for customers or nearby businesses.
Waste in a sandwich shop should be separated into appropriate containers.
Waste management in a sandwich shop should include the following principles:
- Removing waste regularly from food areas to avoid accumulation.
- A good number of bins that are accessible inside the shop and also outside.
- Bins allocated to different waste types including food and recycling.
- Bins operated by foot pedals to avoid touching them by hand.
- Lidded bins that are secure to avoid pests having access to the contents.
- Cleaning bins regularly and using suitable bin liners.
- Regular emptying of bins.
- Locking outdoor bins when not in use.
Pests and sandwich shops do not mix. You only have to read about the rat infestation at Mohammed Patel’s sandwich shop premises mentioned above to start twitching. However, pests are not just limited to rats.
- Rodents – including rats and mice.
- Insects such as cockroaches, flies and ants.
- Stored product pests such as flour weevils, merchant grain beetles, and Indian meal moths.
- Birds – pigeons, house sparrows or other birds nesting on the premises can be problematic. Seagulls can also be troublesome outside of a sandwich shop.
Preventing infestations of pests in a sandwich shop is essential to the good running of the business as well as complying with the law.
Sandwich shops should prevent and control pests by:
- Keeping the sandwich shop clean and tidy. This includes cleaning the floors, walls and counters. Food spills should be cleaned promptly.
- Disposing of waste correctly, particularly food waste as this is what attracts pests the most. Bins should be tightly sealed.
- Storing food correctly in tightly sealed containers. Containers should not be on the floor to prevent pests from entering them. When a food delivery arrives, the contents should be inspected carefully to make sure no pests are being introduced to the sandwich shop.
- Sealing any pest entry points such as cracks and gaps around windows, pipes, doors and floor. This will help to prevent pests from entering the sandwich shop.
- Using products if pests are suspected to catch and/or eliminate them.
- Hiring professionals in to clear any pest infestations so that the job is done properly.
- Training the staff who work in the sandwich shop to promote the importance of good practices within the shop and how to prevent pests.
By following such tips, the sandwich shop and its customers can be sure to be as safe as possible.