Scores on the Doors, the App

iPhone Scores on the Doors appScores on the Doors is a Government scheme that provides consumers with the results of hygiene inspections carried out by local authorities. If you’re a food business you’ve probably already been inspected and given your rating.

For the last few years it’s been possible to search on your local council’s website (if they’re participating in the scheme) and find the Scores on the Doors ratings for the restaurants in your area in order to make an informed choice about where to eat.

Now iPhone users can download a free App called ‘Food Hygiene’, developed by Transparency Data Ltd, making it easy to search on the go. The app has ‘over 130,000 official local authority food hygiene inspection ratings’ and allows you to search manually or use your location to search for food establishments in your local area. For iPhone 3GS and 4 users the app also has an augmented reality radar feature which ‘enables you to just point your phone at food outlets to find out how many starts they have’.

Here are some recent ratings of the app:

***** A brilliant app and I love the radar function. One everyone who eats out should have and use!

***** Oldman Harris: “Woah, what an amazing service! No more gastroenteritis for me!”

I’ll definitely be using this app next time I go out to eat. In the next post I’ll describe more about the scheme and about how you can improve your rating.


This blog is brought to you by Esky e-learning

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The Benefits of E-Learning

E-learning is designed to educate students in a setting that is more comfortable and convenient, such as at their desk or at home. This has many obvious benefits which we will explain here.

E-learning is cost-effective for three main reasons:

No teacher or supervisor required
Sending employees out to courses or bringing in trainers can be very costly, but e-learning offers an affordable solution to training where the learner can train individually without supervision.

Creates automated training records
E-Learning courses usually have a built in Learning Management System (LMS) whereby a manager can monitor their staff members’ progress and download reports for due diligence, as well as control aspects such as whether the user can print their own certificate. Managers can then make sure each employee is completing the course and passing the assessment.

Eliminates travel and staff costs
E-learning courses can be taken at your desk or anywhere with a computer and headphones, eliminating the need to travel to an event or external course. It also means that no-one will need to fill in for you while you’re away on a course.

E-learning is less time-consuming because:

It’s instant
Arranging a classroom-based training session can take time to organise, especially if you need to find a time to suit everyone. An e-learning course can be taken whenever you need which is especially useful for making sure new staff members are trained on their first day.

Training completed in a short amount of time
A classroom-based course might take days to complete whereas online courses can be completed within a few hours at the trainee’s or employer’s convenience.

E-learning courses are consistent and unbiased

High standards
Due to the consistency of the e-learning system, everyone who watches the courses receives the same high level of training, whereas in a classroom-based setting there are many variables that can change – class size, trainer’s standards, different trainers on different days/courses, interruptions, order of information presented etc.

E-learning offers greater flexibility for:

The Learner
E-learning offers the opportunity to take the course at your own pace, and allows you to re-watch any part you wish.

Your Organisation
E-learning courses can provide a flexible addition to in-house training, complementing any induction training given to new staff.

E-learning offers interactivity

The Learner
Staying alert and absorbing lots of information in a classroom environment can sometimes be difficult, but the interactive elements in e-learning courses mean that the user has to actively participate and focus their attention on learning.

These are just some of the reasons why we love e-learning.

This blog is brought to you by Esky e-learning

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Row over alarms during fire alert at Euston station

Source: BBC News

A union and Transport for London (TfL) have disagreed over whether fire alarms failed at Euston Tube station as smoke was seen coming from an escalator.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said no alarms sounded on 6 July and only the “vigilance and experience” of an employee averted what could have been “a major disaster”.

TfL insisted the alarms were working at the time and were retested later.

The station was closed for almost an hour because of the security alert.

A member of staff at the station spotted smoke at the top of the escalator and activated an alarm nearby.

TfL said its alarm system was automated and would have sounded within two minutes of smoke being detected, but the employee took action before this period had elapsed.
Call for inquiry

The RMT, which is currently balloting on a row over job cuts on the London Underground, said the matter highlighted its concerns about safety.

Read the full story here

This blog is brought to you by Esky e-learning

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The rise and fall of the Food Standards Agency

Source: The Telegraph
By Caroline Gammell

The fallout from salmonella, E-coli and BSE in the 1980s and 90s, prompted New Labour decided to set up a dedicated body to cope with any future food scares.

In 2000, they created the Food Standards Agency which was designed – as one minister put it – to “create blue water between us and safety difficulties”.

Its official aim was to protect the public’s health and consumer interests in relation to food.

The main trigger was the panic caused by the BSE crisis in 1996, when the Government announced that a probable link between BSE and vCJD had been established.

In response, the EU banned the export of all UK beef products over 30 months old.

The subsequent furore prompted Labour to include the establishment of a separate food safety body in its 1997 general election manifesto.

Three years later, the FSA became an independent Government department in its own right.

The FSA as it currently stands employs more than 2,000 people and has an annual budget of £135 million.

Its chief executive is Tim Smith, who earns up to £205,000 a year.

Mr Smith, who was appointed in 2008, is the former chief executive of Arla Foods, the largest fresh milk supplier to the UK’s supermarkets.

As a dairy company, it is also responsible for products such as Anchor, Lurpak and Cravendale.

Mr Smith has spent his whole career in the food business, working at Northern Foods, Sara Lee and then Express Dairies.

In addition to a chief executive, the FSA has seven directors responsible for areas such as marketing and finance and three directors each representnig Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There is also a 13-strong board, which is chaired by Lord Rooker, a Labour peer and former MP who was Minister for Food Safety in 1997.

He is paid £54,000 for a two day week and has voiced his support of GM foods in the past.

Other members of the board include Margaret Gilmore, the former Home Affairs Correspondent for the BBC.

Earlier this year the FSA was accused of becoming an over-bloated quango, which had stretched to 37 committees.

Last month, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, announced that the FSA would be carved up and slimmed down.

Responsibility for nutrition will be absorbed into the Department of Health with 70 posts being transferred departments.

Food labelling policy will be incorporated into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with 25 jobs moving across.

Mr Lansley said the department would have a “renewed focus” on food safety. The transition has yet to take place, but is being phased in gradually.

This blog is brought to you by Esky e-learning

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Risk Assessments – Protect Your Business

risk assessmentWhat is a risk assessment?
According to the HSE a risk assessment is a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.

How will a risk assessment help protect my business?
Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business if output is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase or you have to go to court. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so you must put plans in place to control risks.

Recent case study
AN agricultural feed company was fined £16,750 after a worker had his arm sliced off when it was trapped in a cleaning machine. The company admitted failing to carry out a risk assessment at Kelso Mills and failing to provide proper training to the employee. Source: The Scotsman

How do I carry out a risk assessment?
A good place to start would be to use the HSE’s policy and risk assessment template and adapt it to your company. To download the Word document click here:
A more in-depth risk assessment may be required for your company but this template is a good starting point to expand on. The HSE also provide example risk assessments for different sectors here.

Risk assessments in training
All employees should be trained in risk assessments to enable everyone in the workplace to look for hazards and ways to reduce them. Training should be given in a basic Health & Safety course.

Source: HSE

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Food Safety Demo

Full course only£22.50 + VAT @

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We have a new team member!

We’d like to publicly welcome Ben onto our team here at Esky. Ben will spend the next few months in development with The Brothers McLeod illustrating and animating some top secret projects.

Ben is a graduate of Birmingham City University and studied animation as part of his degree in Visual Communication. He also has experience working at various film and animation events such as 7 Inch Cinema and Flatpack Festival.

We’ll keep you updated with the work he’s doing here.

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Food Hygiene Inspections – What to Expect

If you own a food premises you will be inspected by your local council as a way of controlling risks and ensuring that the public aren’t in any danger from foodborne illnesses originating from your business. The majority of routine food hygiene inspections are carried out without prior notice to make sure that standards are kept high at all times.

The following objectives are taken from Dudley Council’s guidelines but will apply to all food businesses in the UK. The main objectives are:

* to determine whether the food business is complying with the relevant food safety legislation
* to gather information through observations and discussions with food handlers, managers and proprietors
* to identify potential hazards and associated risks to public health
* to assess the effectiveness of process controls implemented to safeguard food
* to assess the hazard analysis or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point based food safety management systems operated by the business
* to identify specific contraventions of food safety legislation
* to consider the most appropriate course of enforcement action to secure compliance with food safety legislation
* to provide advice and information to food business proprietors and food handlers
* to provide recommendations of practical, good food hygiene practices
* to promote the continued improvements of food hygiene standards through the adoption of good practice


Food inspectors/EHOs will want to check that all managers and food handlers have been adequately trained to work safely with and around food. All managers and food handlers should be trained to at least Level 2 in Food Safety, which covers food poisoning, cross contamination, personal hygiene, law, HACCP, cleaning and waste management amongst other important topics.

Training does not have to be expensive or time-consuming – individuals or managers can buy online courses on and be training in minutes. The courses are audited and recognised by EHOs so will satisfy an inspector when they come to view your training records.
For more information about the course itself visit our Food Safety page:

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Welcome to our news page/blog. This will be updated with a mixture of industry news, news about our company and research.

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