Food safety guidance

How to keep everyone safe while handling food at residentials

We want you to feel confident about food safety, whether it’s at a weekly meeting or on a trip away.

So we’ve put together a few simple tips and shared some links to more information.

10 things to remember when handling food:

  1. Risk assessments should be checked for which control measures should be in place around safe food handling.
  2. Brief everyone, volunteers and girls, on key safety aspects.
  3. Check for allergies and dietary requirements. Then plan your menu and organise your kitchen to avoid cross contamination.
  4. Wash hands often and thoroughly, and ensure anyone helping in the kitchen has good personal hygiene.
  5. Manage physical risks, including knives and heat sources, such as fires, cookers and matches. This includes storage, checking condition of equipment and supervising young members.
  6. Heat food thoroughly when cooking and if reheating it. You may want to invest in a food thermometer to check things are heated all the way through. Food must be 70c for at least 2 minutes on first heating and 75c if reheating.
  7. Avoid cross contamination. This is especially important when handling cooked and raw foods. Where possible, different work surfaces and equipment should be allocated. If this isn’t possible, make sure work areas and equipment is cleaned thoroughly between use. Also avoid any physical contamination, so remove jewellery before preparing food.
  8. Regularly clean surfaces and equipment, using hot water and suitable cleaning products. Make sure cleaning equipment is stored properly and have separate cloths for separate jobs. Remember not to cook if you’re unwell and to cover any cuts or sores when handling food.
  9. Refrigerate foods that need to be kept cool. Raw and cooked food should be kept separate with raw food on lower shelves. If you have access to a fridge, the temperature should be between 0-5c. If you don’t have access to a fridge, then plan your menu carefully.
  10. Storage should be planned to prevent contamination and access by rodents or other pests. This means, where possible, off the floor and away from the walls. Keep it covered. And plan for the getting rid of rubbish. Think about how you’ll store food when transporting it to and from the event. Try to have food outside the fridge as little as possible and use insulated containers when transporting it.

When you’re planning, storing, preparing or cooking, be aware of what foods pose the greater risk. This includes meat, seafood, dairy, eggs and cooked rice, and any other food that requires refrigeration. Take extra care around any dish that's prepared from scratch or cooked off-site and then reheated, as this creates more chances for contamination. 

The role of caterer is key to any residential. Anyone taking on this role is expected to be familiar with good food hygiene practices. This may be from training or experience, but caterers should always keep up to date with best practice.

We recommend reading our catering scheme, which can be downloaded for free. Even if you’re not ready to complete the qualification, the scheme provides details on how to manage catering on a residential from planning through to dishing up and clearing away afterwards.

When on a residential, involve young members in preparing the meals. Think about how this can be done safely, while helping them become more independent. You’ll need to identify what tasks they can do, and make sure there’s enough supervision - this will depend on age, activity and location. Make sure you explain how to handle food and equipment safely.