Does your church building have a kitchen?
Do you know what goes on in your church kitchen and does it matter? For church leaders it does matter, because, whether your church only serves tea, coffee and biscuits after a Sunday service or you provide a range of meals during the week as part of your ministry to your community, you are subject to the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006. These regulations make those responsible for the activities of a church legally responsible for ensuring that all food supplied by a church is safe.
Do you know the leadership is responsible to ensure food safety management procedures are in place?
The purpose is to control hazards and prevent contamination of food in its storage, preparation and serving, and in transit. The kitchen facilities must be suitable for the food preparation undertaken and that includes storing and preparing food at appropriate temperatures and having work surfaces, sinks and equipment designed to avoid contamination.
Do you know the leadership is responsible for staff?
A church kitchen is often staffed by volunteers; although, when a church provides a lot of meals to many people regularly, staff may be employed along with volunteers. The church leadership is responsible to ensure those staffing a kitchen (employed or volunteer) are supervised, instructed and/or trained in food hygiene in a way appropriate to the work they do.
Are you planning outreach to your community?
Churches are increasingly becoming involved in serving their communities with lunch clubs and similar activities, in response to local needs for companionship and good food. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the necessary food safety requirements and make food hygiene a top priority. Church Growth Trust has produced a briefing paper on the subject of food hygiene which is available from its website. The briefing paper discusses the legal responsibilities of churches and what has to be done to ensure procedures and practices comply with the legal regulations and, most importantly, provide safe food.