A Cork-based food safety company has launched a new hygiene standard in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which it says will help food businesses to reopen and provide greater reassurance to customers and staff.
The Food Safety Company has rolled out a service that can assess, test, and certify that food businesses meet the “highest” of hygiene standards and are free from pathogens and viruses through effective cleaning.
The service is aimed at hotels, restaurants, cafés, and other food businesses in the hospitality and care sector and the process means that companies can be ‘hygiene certified’ within a matter of hours.
The process will involve food safety consultants carrying out a review and audit of hygiene practices on site and analysing swabs taken from various surfaces for a range of bacteria, such as e.coli, and other viruses.
The service also involves hospital-grade training and regular and unannounced audits to ensure that standards are maintained on an ongoing basis.
The process, however, cannot ensure that businesses are Covid-19-free, said Mary Daly, managing director of the Food Safety Company.
“What this process can do is demonstrate due diligence by the business owner, that they are meeting the highest possible standard of hygiene,” she said.
“We have invested significantly in a mobile laboratory so that we can carry out micro-testing on site and advise businesses within two hours that they are pathogen- or virus-free.” , adding that the process would also involve regular and unannounced audits
The company, said Ms Daly, launched the hygiene standard and certification process to help businesses to reopen after Covid-19 and to give customers greater confidence that businesses meet the highest possible hygiene standards.
“The pandemic has highlighted the need for stringent hygiene controls in our society in order to reduce the infection, to prevent reinfection, and to help us return to normal activities,” said Ms Daly.
“The widespread business closures across the industry have had a devastating effect. We hope that by providing business owners with evidence to show that they are infection- free, they in turn can provide peace of mind and reassurance to their own customers.”
A dozen food businesses have so far signed up to the new service, which will offer companies a Hygiene Assured certificate and quality mark that can be displayed in their premises.
One such business is Castleknock Hotel in Dublin, which became the first to be awarded the Hygiene Assured mark at the end of April. Its general manager, Guy Thompson, said the certification provides “complete peace of mind as we welcome guests and staff once again”.