2018 The year of 5’s

Going back to February when things really got going for B.A.Ireland Services. I was consulting with a business in regards to opening their food operations and moving the business forward.

They had a small little cafe operation with very slow turnover, but had only achieved a 3 out of 5 which is slightly bizarre seeming they hadn’t opened for more than a week before they were inspected.

The audit read “little knowledge of safe practices. incomplete HACCP ect”. The normal and usual culprits in an inspection.

After some meetings with the client and a few tweaks to their food safety policy, the re-inspection process began.

The client had me go in every week or so and make sure everything was in order and running smoothly. Much to the chefs frustration.

Anyway some weeks past and the big day arrived. The officer arrived, announced they were here for a re-inspection and began their work.

Everything went perfectly. 0 points on each section (for those who don’t know, the lower the score, the better)

I received praise from the owner and a satisfied handshake from the chef. But best of all i was referred to 2 additional businesses and started work with these businesses.

Some time later…

Business is going well and i receive messages and emails from clients thanking  myself for the professional and effective service i deliver.

One client emailed over stating upon inspection, the officer said their documentation “was overkill”. Which to be fair i was chuffed about. If an environmental health officer thinks the documentation i implement for businesses is overkill, then I’m on the right track.

Then 4 weeks ago whilst participating in the relief freelance chef game, i stumble upon an old client who’s recent head chef had left and were due a re-inspection to claim ‘5/5’. A feet not achieved at this client in some time (years)

So i did the normal process of sit down, look through the environmental audit, and start ticking off the completed tasks. All in all it took me 2 weeks to get everything in order (and at the same time completing the relief work i was contracted out for).

The environmental health officer visited on the Monday and was “over the moon”, giving the client 5/5 for the first time in many years.

Part of my job satisfaction is the 5/5 food hygiene score a client receives. The rest of the satisfaction is knowing the client can keep things up to the high standards when I’m not around.

Though for this year of 2018, the satisfaction is 100% of all my clients has received 5/5.

Well done to every team and individual who helped achieved each businesses rating.



Acrylamide Regulation (EU) 2017/2156

Morning all.

A new month, a new regulation. This month, its Regulation (EU) no 2017/2156,  or the more commonly known Acrylamide.

See the source image

I know you probably don’t know Acrylamide that well, but don’t worry, it seems not a lot of people do either.

In a survey within the city I’m located, not one business out of the 100’s I contacted knew anything about acrylamide or the regulation due to come into force.

Even more concerning is through contact to the local enforcement agencies, not one of them knew about this regulation either. One actually referred me to the FSA who then referred me to trading standards. Who then referred me back to my local enforcement agency.

So if no one knows anything about it, should I really be prepared?

The answer in short is yes. Remember that ‘Ignorance of the law is no defence’. And above all, following the regulation could save lives and provide healthier meals for the consumer overall

So what is Acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a white odourless substance that is formed by amino acids and sugars… obviously these are just words for most chef’s and workers.See the source image

It basically occurs naturally in starch rich foods (including coffee beans) and can become harmful when cooked over 120’C for a prolonged period of time.

The main culprit is potatoes, but it does extend to other root vegetables and baked good that also contain starch. To reduce the risk of acrylamide in foods businesses can follow the FSA guidance in relation to this new Regulation.

Store raw potatoes out the fridge, an ideal temperature would be 6’C. cooked potatoes are fine to be stored in the fridge.

Read the instructions on products that pose a risk. Things like hash browns, fries, chips supplied to your business will have had to provide effective cooking methods with their products so that it meets the new regulations.

Go For Gold is the most simple rule. no longer are the days of overcooked roasts or dark coloured chips.

In theory it shouldn’t pose too much change for businesses. It can be as simple as the recent allergen changes we had to do. All it takes it the right preparation.

I did have a client who asked me about cooking chips in their small business:

“I work in a small kitchen with fryers that start at 130’C. How can I blanch and produce chips for my customer base which follows this regulation?”

As I said, its preparation. Other than blanching in the fryer at 130-145’C, you could blanch your chips in a pan of water. Granted this may create more work for you, but its important to adapt first rather than risking it waiting to see if you’ll be told off (or worse fined). If you have them, use your steamers to blanch the chips and if your fryer supports it, blanch at 100’C . If your still not sure, you could contact your local environmental agency food team for advice, or contact the FSA directly. Remember to find a solution rather than just identifying the problem itself.

This regulation comes into forces on Wednesday 11th April 2018.


Click here to visit ‘Steve pepper training associates’. You can find loads more information on  acrylamide and many other subjects.


 As well as information, Steve pepper offers a range of training courses, HACCP systems and other interesting factsheets to help you and your business move forward

I  can personally say the quality of training Steve gives you is of the highest grade. You’ll definitely be thankful you sat in Steve’s classroom rather than at some computer.

Information on all ‘Steve Pepper’s training associates’ training and course dates can be found here.  

“psst… and remember to mention my name when you book in with Steve”




You can find more information on this new regulation directly at the FSA website.