Environmental Health Approval of Dirleton Lunch Hub
Dirleton Lunch Hub has worked with the Environmental Health department of East Lothian Council to ensure that our practices are compliant with the relevant legislation, and the following advice is given to all volunteers:
Food Safety Advice for Volunteers Cooking at Home for the Dirleton Lunch Hub – the guidance notes below have been agreed with Environmental Health, East Lothian Council, based in Haddington
As an occasional event run by volunteers, our Lunch Hub does not come under the complex legislation that applies to established food manufacturers, restaurants etc. But there is guidance provided by the Food Standards Agency on food hygiene law as it applies to community organisations such as Dirleton Good Neighbours in relation to food provision. And it is important that we comply with UK and Scottish Government regulations, which are monitored by East Lothian Council. By keeping the food we provide at the Lunch Hub simple (vegetable soups, bread and cakes) compliance is much easier. We are lucky that the Kirk Hall kitchen is in very good condition. But we are not preparing any of the food in this kitchen, but in our home kitchens, so it is important that we follow good hygiene practice at home – most of which is simple common sense that we are already following.
As Dirleton Lunch Hub takes place once a month, this takes us into a situation where ‘operators’ (home cooks) may need to have their home kitchens inspected if they are cooking on a monthly basis. Some of the core volunteers have offered to have their home kitchen inspections on this basis, but in practice and for simplicity, Anne Orr as the Co-Ordinator of Dirleton Good Neighbours has had her kitchen inspected by Environmental Health as representative of Dirleton volunteers’ premises. But we will also keep a rota of volunteers cooking for the Lunch Hub, and as the majority are cooking less than twelve times a year, this means that these inspections will not be required. But the Council does advise that we provide the following guidelines for good food hygiene practice.
Wash your hands regularly
Keep pets out of the kitchen while preparing food
Ensure work surfaces, sink, cooker, dishwasher and fridge are clean, and utensils have been washed in hot soapy water. Clean thoroughly after use.
Food in fridge should be organised with all items individually covered , keeping cooked and raw items separate – dairy produce on top shelf, cooked meats, ready to eat items and left-overs in centre, and raw meat and fish on lower shelf.
Ensure all items are within their use-by date.
Ensure all vegetables are washed.
Keep perishable food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible
Soup for Lunch Hub
Volunteers making soup for the Dirleton Lunch Hub should make vegetable soups and use vegetable stock if included, not meat or fish based soups or stock.
Cakes for Lunch Hub
Volunteers making cake for the Dirleton Lunch Hub should avoid recipes that include uncooked eggs. Please let us know if the cake includes nuts. If the cake includes fresh cream, keep the cream refrigerated as long as possible, and keep the cake in the fridge once the cream has been added.
Ensure that the food items are transported in clean covered containers and are refrigerated if there is a time gap between making and transportation.
We are not required to list all the potential allergic ingredients in the cakes, soups and bread produced for the Lunch Hub, but let us know if nuts are included in an item, so that we can label the cake or bread accordingly. Celery/celeriac and mustard are less well known allergens and are also worth mentioning if used as an ingredient.