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Avoiding an Unwanted Christmas Present

GH-Training Solutions

Avoiding an Unwanted Christmas Present

GH Training Solutions Add comments

 Avoiding turkey trots at christmas

Everyone likes to make a little extra effort at Christmas. Last weekend, several shops were taking part in a local Christmas Fayre. I noticed a mobile repair shop laying out a little table with a soup kettle on, plugged into an extension cable which trailed across the entrance of the shop (which was open to the public). The shop owner then came out with a plastic tub of cooked rice and proceeded to fill the soup kettle.

A number of immediate concerns popped into my mind, although my family thought I was being a Grinch. I realised how at Christmas, it seems to be ok to bend (or disregard) the rules, because “it’s only the once” and you’re “being festive”.

However, there is a real risk that you could give your customers or guests a very unwanted Christmas present. Nothing feels less festive than food poisoning.

You may be hosting a special event, or simply expecting more people than usual to cater for. Whatever your Christmas period plans, here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your usually high standards are maintained during this busy period, based on the 3 P’s Framework that I use in my free eBook (Embracing an EHO Visit – a practical business toolkit) available to download here.


  • During this busy period, don’t compromise on hygiene; you may need to buy in extra supplies such as hand wash for both the kitchen and customer toilets, cleaning products, etc. You may need to review your cleaning rota to cope with increased usage.
  • If you don’t have enough equipment to keep food safe, can you bring in a temporary measure, for example, a mobile refrigerator.
  • You may want to rearrange your furniture to accommodate additional seating – make sure that emergency exits are still accessible and of course, it can be a good time to clean behind some rarely moved benches!
  • Consider Health & Safety when setting up displays and decorations and also for any entertainment provided.


  • Don’t accept more bookings than you can safely handle. Consider your preparation, cooking and storage spaces as well as your man power.
  • It is important to be organised, but don’t try and get too far ahead of yourself; preparing food too far in advance gives bacteria the opportunity to thrive.
  • If you have new ingredients in the kitchen, ensure they are labelled clearly especially allergens.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold with minimal time spent at ambient temperature.
  • Make sure you have time to cook poultry thoroughly, including chicken liver pate.


People & Policies

  • If you’re doing a special menu, have you reviewed your food safety management system or HACCP procedures, and have you made any relevant changes?
  • Have staff been trained in new food processes, especially any additional seasonal staff you’ve taken on?
  • Have you updated your allergy advice and checked with customers for any dietary requirements?
  • What are your contingency plans, just in case you have boiler failure, staff call in sick etc?

A good food safety culture plays a key role in your brand image and reflects a commitment from the management team. Although it can take extra effort to set up and build this culture, it makes life a lot easier in the long run.

Assess how well your business is performing by using the checklist in my free eBook, Embracing an EHO Visit – A practical toolkit for businesses, available to download here.

If you think you or your team could benefit from extra Food Safety advice or training please get in touch.

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