Food hygiene advice for community groups and events

Community events can be a great way to bring people together, whilst also raising money for a charity or other good cause, as they can have a huge positive force in a town or city. However, it is important to ensure that these events are carried out safely, especially where food products are served or sold to members of the public, such as feeding the homeless or selling food products to raise money for charitable causes.

Many community groups rely on the help of volunteers, many of whom won’t have undergone any form of food hygiene training. If the group fails to teach its volunteers about food safety and to follow safe practices when preparing food products, it could be putting the health of the public at risk. Poor food hygiene can cause food poisoning, which can make people seriously ill.

Simply by observing some basic food hygiene rules and making sure every volunteer knows what standards are expected of them, members of the public can be protected against food poisoning and other illnesses caused by poor food hygiene. For example, all volunteers should:

• Wash their hands before handling food, as well as before and after handling potentially dangerous food products such as raw poultry, eggs etc.
• Know the correct temperature to store food products at
• Understand the importance of keeping raw and ready-to-eat food products apart, as well as the utensils and equipment used to prepare both of these products
• Wear the right clothing (i.e. remove jewellery, wear hair nets etc.)

It may be a good idea for the head of a team of volunteers to attend a basic food hygiene training course ahead of the community event, so that they can advise and instruct their team properly. Even the basics taught on a one day course can drastically improve standards of hygiene in the food your group produces.

Needless to say, giving people food poisoning is the exact opposite of what any community group would have been aiming for when baking cakes to sell at a charity event or making sandwiches for a community picnic.