The world of food safety can seem a complicated one and with so many acronyms whether it be HACCP, BRC or SFBB, it can be difficult to know which ones are important for your business. Here, we’ve put together a list of the most significant ones to help provide a better understanding of the ones you need to know.

FSA (Food Standards Agency)

The Food Standards Agency is an independent government department responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in the United Kingdom. Essentially they make sure food is what it says it is whilst being safe to consume by setting regulations and working with local authorities to ensure standards are met.

GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative)

The Global Food Safety Initiative is a private organisation which has been established and is managed by the international trade association, the Consumer Goods Forum. It recognises a number of food safety management schemes including BRC, FSSC 22000 and SQF which can be passed to fulfill its criteria to be awarded GFSI certification. 

FSMS (Food Safety Management Systems)

Food Safety Management Systems are a legal requirement and a helpful tool to make sure safe practices are being followed in your business. It provides a systematic approach to controlling food safety hazards within a food business so food is safe to consume. All businesses are required to have, apply, and maintain FSMS based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

BRC (British Retail Consortium)

British Retail Consortium (BRC) is a safety and quality certification scheme which provides a framework for food manufacturers. Also often phrased as BRC ISO, it helps manufacturers produce safe food and manage product quality so it meets the needs of their customers. The scheme includes a number of food safety requirements that have to be met from food production, to sale, to the person buying it. They are: senior management commitment, quality management system and a series of prerequisite programs. BRC food certification is a straightforward process and requires just an onsite audit.

FSSC 22000: (Foundation for Food Safety Certification)

FSSC 22000 is a food safety certification scheme which has been created to certify food safety systems of organisations that process or manufacture a number of different products based on ISO 22000. This includes animal products, perishable plant products, long shelf life products and numerous other food ingredients including additives, vitamins and organic crops, as well as food packaging materials.

NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)

The National Sanitation Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation which provides food safety and certification services in the UK to companies in industries such as agriculture, bottled water, manufacturing, retail and catering. It also provides certification to (Global Food Safety Initiative) standards.

SFBB (Safer Food, Better Business)

Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB) is a practical approach to food safety management, which has been introduced by the Food Standards Agency to help small catering and retail businesses including restaurants, cafes, takeaways and shops comply with food safety regulations. It utilises an easy to use fact sheet concentrating on four main potential hazards in the catering business and these are; cross contamination, cleaning, chilling and cooking. Additionally, there’s also a section on managing food safety explaining how the system needs to be monitored and recorded. 

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control)

HACCP is one of the most recognisable acronyms out there, which helps businesses manage food hygiene and safety procedures. HACCP mainly involves; what you do in your business and what risks there are for food safety, identifying critical points and making sure risk is removed, deciding on the correct course of action to take and keeping a record to show all procedures are working. Businesses must develop their own procedures based off the principles of HACCP and comply with legal requirements by following good hygiene practices.

EHO (Environmental Health Officer)

Any person or business which prepares food must register itself with the local authority as a food business. It will then be inspected by an Environmental Health Officer from your local authority to ensure the food your business is producing is safe for consumption. Following the visit you will then receive a score from the Food Hygiene Rating scheme of 0-5 with 5 being the highest score you can achieve. High risk businesses will be inspected every 6 months whereas low risk businesses might only be inspected every 5 years. Essentially, an EHO officer is looking at how hygienically the food is handled, prepared, cooked, reheated, cooled and stored. The condition and structure of buildings it’s being prepared in with a focus on cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and pest control. And how the business manages and records how it goes about making the food safe.

SQF (Safe Quality Food)

The Safe Quality Food (SQF) is another safety certification scheme and is an integrated management system for quality and food safety. It’s supported by a thorough certification progamme designed to adhere to the needs of buyers and food suppliers worldwide.

Carmelo Ruggieri

Content Marketing Executive

Carmelo has years of experience in marketing, loves of all things tech and is a regular contributor to the OpsBase blog. He enjoys writing almost as much as he enjoys eating crunchy peanut butter and is likely to be found doing one or the other at any given point in time.

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