Food is an essential part of everyday life and managing its preparation is important to make sure the food you serve is safe to eat. High-profile food-related incidents such as those involving Salmonella and E.coli O157 have only served to increase general awareness of food safety issues.

On 1st January 2006, changes to the food safety legislation will require that all food businesses, including caterers, apply food safety management procedures based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) to their business.

In order to help food businesses better prepare for this, the Agency intends to produce guidance materials appropriate for different types of food business. These are expected to become available during 2005. In preparation for this, the Food Standards Agency Scotland asked the HACCP Working Group of the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC), to develop a guidance manual for caterers.

CookSafe is the name given to the manual that was developed. The process of development has drawn upon expertise from the food industry (including small businesses), Local Authorities and the Scottish Food Advisory Committee. The Agency would like to record its gratitude to SFELC and, in particular, the Scottish HACCP Working Group, for the commitment, time, expertise and support they have given to this task.

Should you wish to make any suggestions that you consider would improve the contents of CookSafe, please do so through your Local Authority Enforcement Officer.

I believe that the advice contained within these pages will enable catering businesses to control food safety and build upon existing good practice in line with the changes the legislation will bring. I feel confident that CookSafe will prove a valuable resource to all of us committed to the very important issue of raising food safety standards and protecting consumers.

Dr George M Paterson
Director, Food Standards Agency Scotland
August 2004