Food businesses and organisations involved in the supply of food to the public need to ensure they have a robust food complaints management procedure in place, to be followed in the event of receiving food safety and/or quality issues with food suppliers.
All staff should be made aware of the procedure and follow it religiously. This ensures a clear and consistent mechanism is in place to log, act on and review supplier complaints.
The key message in the event of a food incident is - INFORM YOUR EHO IMMEDIATELY. The EHO is then responsible for taking the appropriate action to minimise risk to all customers and to alert the FSA as appropriate. You should also inform your Trading Standards officer.
It is recommended the following needs to be in place for the effective management of problems:
• Checking and testing of food delivered to your kitchen / catering unit
• Awareness of risk definitions
• Clear complaints and escalation procedures
• Crisis management procedures
It is recommended that food procurement officers / catering staff actively involve their EHOs /Trading Standards officers when drawing up or implementing their complaints procedure for advice on the types of issues that should be referred to them and the mechanisms for doing so.
Each of the above areas are looked at in more detail in the following sub-sections.
It is vital that robust food safety procedures are in place for complaints management, escalation and crisis management.