Insurance Premium Tax Increase

As you may have already heard from the Governments autumn statement last year, the Chancellor has has taken the decision to increase the rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) which comes into effect today.

From the 1st June 2017 the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) has increased from 10% to 12%.

This affects new policies and renewals taken out from today or adjustments to existing policies which generates additional premium.

 

30 Billion Reasons to Prioritise Cyber Security

Two-thirds of UK organisations have not provided their employees with cyber security training, according to a recent survey from professional IT solutions firm, Ultima. What’s more, half admitted they are unprepared for an attack and, if an attack occurs, they have no recovery plan in place. This extensive negligence for cyber security is particularly troubling, as each UK organisation was subjected to 230,000 cyber attacks in 2016, according to research from internet service provider, Beaming. While not every attack was successful, the ones that were cost the UK economy approximately £30 billion in total losses.

The five most common and dangerous cyber threats to your organisation include the following:

  1. Ransomware: A piece of malicious software that encrypts all of the data on an organisation’s network and can only be decrypted after paying cyber criminals a ransom.
  2. Hacking: A cyber criminal will exploit an unpatched vulnerability within an organisation’s security software to access its data.
  3. Denial-of-service attack: An organisation’s website is maliciously overwhelmed by a high volume of data pushed to its servers, which temporarily or indefinitely interrupts services.
  4. Human error: Information lost or distributed to the wrong person.
  5. CEO fraud: A cyber criminal poses as a senior person within an organisation, either by hacking or ‘spoofing’ an email account, and convinces someone with financial authority to transfer money.

Fortunately, according to government research, 80 per cent of all cyber attacks can be stopped by implementing basic cyber security. These practices include the following:

  • Install and regularly update firewalls and antivirus software.
  • Require all employees to choose a strong password.
  • Encrypt all of your hard drives.
  • Provide your employees with robust cyber security training.
  • Purchase a comprehensive cyber insurance policy.

For more information on the specific risks to the mobile catering industry and how insurance can protect your organisation from cyber attacks, contact us today.

Slice, Dice and Chop With Care – Cutting safety tips

Kitchen safety tips

Food preparation areas can be a hazardous working environment, especially in a busy mobile catering environment like a street food stall or food trailer. You and your colleagues are at risk of cuts while preparing food, serving and washing dishes. However, there are many safety precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of getting cut at work.

 

Knife Safety Tips

  • Handle, use and store knives and other sharp utensils safely.
  • Cut in the direction away from your body.
  • Keep your fingers and thumbs out of the way of the cutting line.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as steel mesh gloves.
  • Use a knife only for its intended purpose and use the correct knife for each cutting or chopping job.
  • Never try to rush a cutting, slicing or chopping task – you may get careless and have an accident.
  • Keep knives sharpened and in good condition. Let your supervisor know if you have concerns about the condition of any knife in the kitchen.
  • Store knives and cleavers in a designated area when they are not in use, and never store them with the blades exposed.
  • Let a falling knife fall to the floor – never try to catch it.
  • Carry knives with the cutting edge angled slightly away from your body with tip pointed down to your side.
  • Place a knife down on a clean surface for a co-worker to use rather than handing it to the individual.
  • Avoid placing knives near the edge of a countertop.
  • Never place a dirty knife in the sink after usage. You or a co-worker may reach into the sink and get cut unknowingly. Instead, place them in the dishwasher or in a container labelled “knives only.”
  • Do not interrupt or talk to co-workers who are using knives or other sharp utensils. They may get distracted and hurt themselves accidentally.

 

Make sure you follow all proper safety procedures when working with knives and other sharp objects, for your safety and the safety of others.

If you would like any more information on reducing the risks to your mobile catering business please give us a call. 

 

 

Avoiding Fryer Burns

mobile catering deep fat fryer

Deep fat fryers are a leading cause of burns for food service workers. Workers do not only risk burns when cooking with or cleaning fryers and vents; contact with hot splashing oil is also a serious hazard.

To prevent burns, your first line of defence is to exercise extreme caution around the fryer and oil. Ask a supervisor or a trained employee to show you how to operate the fryer before attempting it on your own.

Once you are trained, always wear the appropriate clothing. A long-sleeved cotton shirt, long trousers and an apron all shield your body from hot oil splashes.

 When Cooking

  • Use the correct grease level and cooking temperature.
  • Never put water or ice into the fryer as it may cause a flare-up.
  • Do not overfill the fryer with frozen foods as it may cause the oil to splash and bubble over.
  • Make sure the floor beneath your feet is completely dry to avoid slipping and bumping into the fryer.

During Clean-Up

  • Wear gloves and use a scraper when cleaning the fryer and hood.
  • Avoid reaching over or climbing on top of fryers to clean them.
  • Since these appliances are dangerous to operate, make sure you know how to operate a class F fire extinguisher, which is used to put out oil and grease fires.
  • In the event of a fire, you and your fellow employees must act fast to prevent further damage and protect yourselves against injuries.

 

Spotting CO Poisoning

Workers using portable fryer units may be exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if the exhaust system malfunctions. If you work with fryers regularly and experience headaches, confusion, nausea and dizziness, you may have CO poisoning. Contact your supervisor immediately and seek medical help.

 

 

 

Tips for reducing the spread of foodborne germs

Mobile Catering cleanliness

Foodborne illnesses can be life-threatening and can be transmitted quite easily. However, by following these safety tips, you can ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illness at your facility.

Safety Steps

Safe steps in food handling, cooking and storage are essential to preventing foodborne illness. You typically cannot see, smell or taste harmful bacteria that have the potential to cause illness. Keep food safe in every step of preparation.

  • Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook foods to the proper temperatures.
  • Refrigerate and store leftovers promptly.

 

Food Handling Guidelines

  • Refrigerate or freeze all perishable food items. The refrigerator should be set at 4° C or less and the freezer set at -18° C or less. Check the temperatures with a thermometer designated for these appliances.
  • Always thaw food in the refrigerator or under cold water, never sitting out at room temperature.
  • Wash chopping boards and cooking utensils immediately with soap and hot water after contact with raw meats to prevent bacterial contamination.
  • Do not leave perishable foods sitting out for more than two hours.
    • If room temperature is above 32° C, do not leave foods out for more than one hour.
  • If food is cooked, but will not be served for more than two hours, keep it in the oven at 60 °C and cover with foil.
  • Discard tinned foods that are dented, seeping or bulging.
  • Do not use food if packaging is torn or open.
  • Poultry and meat is only good in the refrigerator for one to two days.
  • Keep seafood in the refrigerator or freezer until right before use.
  • Throw out foods with any sign of mould growth.
  • Never store food near cleaning products or chemicals.
  • Store condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise in the refrigerator after opening.

 

 

Upcoming Food Allergen and Labelling Requirements

On 13 December 2014, a section of the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation regarding food allergens in non-pre-packed and pre-packed foods will come into effect.

The regulations designate new allergen information and disclosure requirements for restaurants, in addition to new labelling requirements on pre-packed foods.

The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (No. 1169/2011) came into force on 13 December 2011. This harmonises food labelling requirements across all member states of the EU, including all four countries of the United Kingdom. Each country in the United Kingdom has drafted applicable Food Information Regulations to implement the new requirements.

On 13 December 2014, a section of the regulations regarding food allergens in non-pre-packed and pre-packed foods will come into effect for all food business operators (FBOs). ‘Pre-packed food’ means food placed into packaging before being offered for sale that cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging. However, this does not cover foods pre-packed for direct sales (such as deli food) or food packed at the customer’s request.

The new requirements include:

  • Allergen information and disclosure requirements for FBOs serving non-pre-packed foods, such as restaurants, chippies, takeaways, caterers, bakeries, etc.
  • New labelling requirements on pre-packed foods to emphasise certain listed allergens.

The following provides an overview of the upcoming changes regarding allergens and hints and tips on how to comply with the new requirements.

Why Changes Were Made

In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that 2 million people or 1-2 per cent of adults and 5-8 per cent of children have a food allergy. These figures do not include those with food intolerances, so the total number of people with food allergies and sensitivities is likely much greater.

An allergic reaction can be produced by a seemingly inconsequential amount of food, for instance, a teaspoon of milk powder, a fragment of peanut or a single sesame seed. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild, such as itching and rashes, to severe, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, wheezing, anaphylaxis (shock) or even death. Approximately ten people in the United Kingdom die from allergic reactions to food every year.

There is no cure for a food allergy. The only way to manage it is to avoid foods that cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, it is very important that FBOs provide clear and accurate information about allergen ingredients in their products.

14 Listed Allergens

Depending on the type of food (non-pre-packed or pre-packed), FBOs must either properly label or disclose the presence of 14 major allergens:

List of 14 Allergens

Cereals containing gluten (namely wheat such as spelt, Khorasan wheat/Kamut), rye, barley, oats or their hybridised strains
Crustaceans (such as crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawn)
Eggs
Fish
Peanuts
Soya (Soybeans)
Milk
Tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazils, pistachios, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts)
Celery and celeriac
Mustard
Sesame seeds
Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)
Lupin
Molluscs (such as mussels, oysters and squid)

 

Non-pre-packed Foods

From 13 December 2014, FBOs that provide non-pre-packed foods, such as restaurants and takeaways, must provide information to customers on certain allergenic ingredients. It will no longer suffice for these FBOs to simply say that their foods may contain allergens or that they do not know if their food contains any. Allergen information must be complete, accurate and available for each specific food. This can be done by:

  • Supplying the allergen information on menus, chalk boards or tickets;
  • Having an appropriate staff member verbally disclose the information; or
  • Using other formats made available to the consumer.

If the allergen information is written, it should be clear and conspicuous, easily visible and legible. If the allergen information is verbally disclosed, it is still necessary to use an easily seen, written notice that states that the information can be obtained by asking a staff member.

Pre-packed Foods

While FBOs that supply pre-packed foods already must follow certain labelling requirements, from 13 December 2014, they now also have to emphasise on the label whether the food contains certain allergens. This means using a contrasting font size, style or colour to emphasise the 14 listed allergens from other ingredients.

Additionally, FBOs selling pre-packed foods must:

  • Make sure the allergenic information is easily visible, clearly legible and not obscured in any way ( such as under a flap or in a crease)
  • Ensure a font size of 1.2mm or more where the labelling surface is 80cm2 or more, or ensure a font size of 0.9mm or more if the labelling surface is less than 80cm2 or less (can omit ingredients list if largest surface area is 10cm2 or less and information is available at consumer’s request).

However, pre-packed products that have been labelled or placed on the market before 13 December 2014 can still be sold until stocks are exhausted. This is due to the typically long shelf lives of pre-packed foods, such as frozen, tinned or dried foods.

Make sure that your business is prepared for these upcoming changes as it will likely require additional staff training and procedures. For more information on food allergen disclosure and labelling and other requirements of the Food Information Regulations, visit www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/regulation/fir/

 

 

 

 

Insurance Terms Explained

Insurance terms can be confusing and we all wonder why normal language can’t be used to explain everything. One of our goals is to make it easier for you to understand these terms and so here is our glossary of insurance terms for people who choose not to speak in legal jargon!

You/Your/Insured
You will find yourself referred to as  ‘the Insured’ quite a lot. It’s still ‘you’ but it in its exact reference it means the person (or people) named in the insurance Schedule.

We/Us/Our/Underwriters
The company or underwriters (the people who work out how much your insurance is) who are actually insuring you. Not to be confused with Moving Food, we arrange the insurance and find the best product for you.

Business
Your business, but in very precise terms! Usually detailed as something like ‘ownership or occupation of vehicle for the purpose of retailing food and drinks’. This will usually be worked out from a question you answer in the quote process so shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Damage
Accidental physical damage

Employee(s)
Technically referring to anyone you employ under a contract of service or apprenticeship, working for You in connection with the Business or as more described in Liability definitions

Fixed Equipment
Any equipment permanently fixed (fixtures and fittings) to the Trailer or Static Unit, this doesn’t include items like Generators and Gas Bottles.

Bodily Injury
This terms actually refers to Death, Injury, illness or disease.

Limit of Liability
means the applicable Limit of Our Liability to You as defined in the Schedule and/or the Limits of Liability section of this Certificate.

Locked/Secure Compound
Any location which is behind locked gates with no other unsecured access.

Money
Actually, it’s not just money! This term means cash, bank notes, cheques, giro cheques, bankers’ drafts, Money orders, bills of exchange, unused
postage stamps, holiday with pay stamps, credit company sales vouchers and VAT purchase invoices and luncheon vouchers!

Non Fixed Contents
Stuff which is not permanently fixed to the Trailer or Static Unit. Utensils and removable equipment fit this bill.

Pollution or Contamination means

1. Pollution or Contamination of buildings or other structures or of air or water or land and

2. Injury, Loss or Damage directly or indirectly caused by such Pollution or Contamination.

Static Unit or Trailer
A unit which is not a mechanically propelled and permanently sited and converted for the purpose of retailing food or drink

Principal
Any public authority, company firm or person to whom You have contractually agreed to supply services

Product
What you’re selling! (includes any containers) 

Territorial Limits
The UK 

We hope that helps a little but if you need any advice on insurance terms just give us a call and we’ll explain all