A new initiative organised by Environmental Health Officers in Wealden and Lewes is seeking to help food businesses achieve top hygiene scores through better understanding of the regulations.
With a wealth of great ethnic restaurants locally, Environmental Health Officers have organised their first bilingual training session to ensure the messages about correct compliance with food hygiene are fully understood.
“When carrying out routine inspections it became apparent that some restaurants were having difficulty in fully understanding the detailed rules and regulations.
“This is why we have introduced Cantonese and are looking to include Turkish and Bengali to help restaurants achieve the best scores possible,” said Councillor Claire Dowling, Wealden Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Development.
“The training session was a huge success with 50 people attending and we look forward to holding further events later in the year. It was an opportunity to fully explain the workings of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, in particular the standards of hygiene and -management required to achieve the maximum score of 5.”
The first training session was held in Seaford for Chinese food businesses based in the Lewes and south Wealden area. Sompriti provided bilingual support to promote the seminar which was led by an accredited Chinese trainer.
The whole event, from promotion to delivery, was in Cantonese.
“Many of our Chinese businesses have high standards but, like all parts of the catering sector, some need support to reach the standards required.
“In many cases this is not because the businesses are unwilling.
“It is the difficulty in overcoming the language barrier,” said Rob Crouch, Food and Health & Safety Team Manager for the Rother and Wealden Environmental Health Service.
“Many businesses commented on how a close working relationship with Environmental Health Officers helps them to achieve legal compliance and improve standards.
“Other Sussex Authorities are looking to work with us to support ethnic minority businesses.”
The Councils are hoping to provide additional events within the Rother and Wealden area in the future so that more Chinese, Bengali and Turkish businesses can receive technical hygiene training in their first languages.