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How to take the pressure off care home food hygiene inspections

Meals prepared in care homes are served to some of the most vulnerable people in our society, making food safety all the more important.

This means it’s critical to keep track of food safety, achieve the highest standards in your care home, and pass your inspections with flying colours. 

Not only does this protect your residents, it also reassures relatives and future residents that they can trust the food you serve.

In this article we will explore how partnering with apetito can take the pressure off your care homes inspections, by taking a deeper look into Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Environmental Health Officer (EHO) inspections specifically. 

What food hygiene inspections do care homes have?

Care homes have to conform to a set of standards that cover all the preparation, storage and service of food outlined by the CQC. These include:

  • The Food Safety Act 1990 
  • Food safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995
  • Food safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995 

The CQC requires that care homes food and drink provided is handled, stored & prepared and delivered in a way that meets the requirements of the act. The CQC will look at EHO reports and audits most recently completed to support their decision on rating the care homes hygiene levels. 

Your local authority is responsible for enforcing food hygiene inspections, Your local Environmental Health Officer will need to conduct an inspection on your care home's kitchen to ensure that you are carrying out food operations such as storing, handling, preparing & cooking safely. 

Your EHO inspection will be based on three main elements: how hygienically you handle food, your food safety management procedures, and the physical condition of the premises.

As a care home you are responsible for high risk individuals, meaning you will most likely encounter food hygiene inspections every six months. 

Taking the pressure off CQC inspections

At apetito we know the importance of inspections for care homes and how important it is to pass these with flying colours. When a care home partners with apetito, we can help take the pressure off these inspections when it comes to food and dining.

To help the inspection teams direct the focus they use a standard set of 'key lines of enquiry' (KLOEs). 
These rate the care according to how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led using the following four levels: 

  • Outstanding: The service is performing exceptionally well
  • Good: The service is performing well and meeting our expectations
  • Requires Improvement: The service isn’t performing as well as it should and we have told the service how it must improve
  • Inadequate: The service is performing badly and we’ve taken enforcement action against the provider of the service
  • No rating/under appeal/rating suspended: There are some services we can’t rate while some might be under appeal from the provider. Suspended ratings are being reviewed by us and will be published soon

What is CQC Regulation 14?

As part of its regular inspections, the CQC will measure a care-home against regulation14. CQC regulation 14 makes sure your residents have the adequate nutrition and hydration to sustain life and good health. This aims to reduce the risks of malnutrition and dehydration while in your care.   

How apetito helps you achieve an 'Outstanding' rating for CQC Regulation 14

apetito ensures every home provides nutritionally balanced meals to suit all needs and dietary preferences. Our service also offers a number of highly valuable benefits to help you not just pass CQC Regulation 14, but succeed with flying colours.

Reduce risk

All our meals are tested in our on-site labs and only released for consumption once they are confirmed as clear of any contamination.

When it comes to serving up, we also train your team to ensure food is probed and recorded in apetito temperature logbooks. We offer a wide variety of ongoing support and training throughout our partnership.

Cater for specific diets and dietary intolerances

Our Dietitian ensures every meal meets the latest guidelines in nutrition. Our special diets range enables us to cater for any dietary need without compromising on taste. We cater for reduced sugar, gluten free, reduced appetites and much more.

We also offer a wide range of IDDSI compliant meals and a Finger foods range to help those living with motor function conditions. We offer all our homes picture menus to encourage residents with decisions at mealtimes too.

We encourage care homes to stock dishes that aren't on the menu, offering residents a 'Round the clock' menu. This means a nutritious meal is available 24/7.

Alongside this, we offer to create bespoke menus to suit your residents' needs. All dietary information can be found in our Nutriplan set up from the moment you begin your partnership with us.

Offer diverse and culturally sensitive meals

Our range of over 200 meal choices provides our customers with a variety of dishes to suit all dietary needs. This includes a wide selection of Halal, Kosher and Ethnic meals, catering for every dietary and cultural need.

Our delicious range of vegan and vegetarian dishes offer residents with moral and ethical beliefs delicious, nutritious meals.

Other things to keep in mind for a food hygiene inspection

An inspector will also be looking out for a number of other factors during their visit, so it’s worth keeping the following in mind for your care home:

Food is stored safely

Different foods can be stored in different ways. But with apetito all of your meals will be stored in the freezer, ensuring there is no confusion on best practice with our food. With everything coming from the freezer, care homes can use only what is needed and there is less wastage even if there has been an over order of food, and this can then be used at a later date. 

Food is safely transported

When you transport food from one place to another, you must prevent it from becoming contaminated—for example with dirt or bacteria. It is especially important to make sure that food is transported in packaging or containers that protect it from contamination. 

All of apetito's meals are transported in temperature-controlled vehicles right to the care homes door where it can be put in the freezer straight away, ensuring that the food stays at a safe temperature at all times. 

Staff handling food all have the correct training

According to UK law, food business operators must ensure that all food handlers receive supervision and training in food hygiene, in line with their area of work. 

We offer training in many areas of our food, from handling to plate presentation, making sure all care homes have the best understanding when serving our meals.

Personal hygiene standards are maintained

By ensuring you and your staff maintain good personal hygiene, you are actively keeping your residents safe. Handwashing, clean clothing and fitness for work are all factors of personal hygiene and health that will be taken into account by a food hygiene inspector.

Make your next inspection easier 

By equipping yourself with this information in conjunction with partnering your care home with apetito you can easily take the pressure off your next inspection. Read more of our in-depth content or take a closer look at our product If you’re interested and want to learn more about our award-winning care home meals.

Explore our care homes meal service

About apetito

We are a leading provider of nutritious and award-winning meals, with a strong reputation in the care home and healthcare sectors.

Learn more about apetito

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