Food Standards Agency (FSA)
KitchenLogs and Harrow Council Feasibility Study 2018
1. Background and Context
1.1. Regulating Our Future (ROF) is a major transformation programme to
modernise and re-shape the regulatory regime for food. ROF will change the way
food businesses are regulated and inspected across England, Wales and Northern
Ireland. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) aims to have a new system in place by
1.2. The FSA is taking a whole system approach, understanding what information is
available from a wider range of sources and how this can could be used in the future
to gain assurance that food is safe, what it says it is and public health is protected.
1.3. Through ROF the FSA is looking to make more use of 2nd and 3rd party data
and businesses’ own assurance systems to support regulation. New and emerging
enterprises, technology and innovations have the potential to provide a range of data
that could support the ROF target operating model.
1.4. The FSA is committed to working in an open policy making way engaging with a
wide range of stakeholders across the food industry. By working with KitchenLogs
during this feasibility study, the FSA aimed to take on board fresh ideas, best
practice and lessons learned, enabling the development of the best possible
regulatory model for food.
2. KitchenLogs (Food Safety Diary App)
2.1. KitchenLogs are a London based start-up who have developed a commercially
available digital food safety management system.
2.2. The system contains pre-installed checklists based on the FSA’s food safety
management system, safer food, better business (SFBB). The system can be
modified to suit business requirements and can be downloaded for use on both
Android and iOS devices.
3. The Application
3.1. The FSA received and subsequently approved an application for a feasibility study
from KitchenLogs in partnership with Harrow Council. The feasibility study started in
4. Objectives and Methodology
4.1. The objectives for the feasibility study were as follows:
• Implement KitchenLogs digital Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in 3
food business operators (FBOs) who are FHRS rated either 1 or 2 and assess
whether using a KitchenLogs digital FSMS can increase the FHRS score (and
improve hygiene/standards and safety).
• Sharing data with local authorities.
4.2. Three food businesses (all restaurants) were selected by the Local Authority
(Harrow Council) for inclusion in this study. The selections were made during week
beginning 16 July 2018.
4.3. Business ‘A’ serves Japanese cuisine. Prior to the study it had a history of poor
hygiene and food standards and was most recently inspected in July 2018 and
deemed to have had issues with food handling processes and a lack of implementation
of food safety procedures. The business was subsequently awarded a Food Hygiene
Rating Scheme (FHRS) score of 1.
4.4. Business ‘B’ serves Indian cuisine. Prior to the study, it was most recently
inspected in late May 2018 and had issues with completing Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control Points (HACCP) records and recording allergen information. The
business was subsequently awarded a FHRS score of 1.
4.5. Business ‘C’ serves Indian and East African cuisine and has an onsite licensed
bar. Prior to the study, it was most recently inspected in July 2018 and there were
issues with the consistency of completing HACCP records, as well as food handling
concerns. The business was subsequently awarded a FHRS score of 2.
4.6. The businesses were all keen on taking part in the study as paying customers.
They were onboarded during week beginning 6 August 2018. The KitchenLogs team
attended the premises of the businesses taking part in the study and gave them access
to their food safety management system. The team also provided the necessary
training needed to use the software and assisted them through the transition.
4.7. The business received an email prompt from the system when data recording was
required and were given a four-hour slot to log the information. Businesses received
a report at the end of each day detailing the data that had been logged for that time
period. KitchenLogs were able to access the data entered to monitor the business’
compliance and offer assistance.
4.8. The information and data being entered by the businesses was actively monitored
until 19 October.
4.9. A new round of inspections was carried out by the Local Authority in November
5.1. There was an improvement in the FHRS score for two out of the three businesses.
Business ‘B’ and Business ‘C’ increased their ratings from 1 to 4 and 2 to 4
respectively. The Environmental Health Officers involved however noted some minor
failings with the structure and handling practices at both premises.
5.2. This was the highest rating Business ‘B’ and Business ‘C’ had received in the last
5.3. Business ‘A’ remained on FHRS score of 1. The Environmental Health Officer
cited issues around the handling of raw food and lack of knowledge by staff.
5.4. An Environmental Health Officer mentioned that Business ‘A’ ‘was guilty of
practices which would have dragged them down however good the records were.’
5.5. It was observed that there was a lack of management presence on-premise at
Business ‘A’ and staff were reluctant to implement the food safety policies put in place
to enable the food safety management system to be used effectively.
5.6. An Environmental Health Officer said regarding food safety management systems
‘They are only as good as the management and maintenance of the safety procedures
underpinning them and they don’t replace sensible management.’
5.7. Regarding data, the Environmental Health Officers involved in the study preferred
to review this at the premise - as opposed to contacting the proprietor to request
access, receive the data, and then make the unannounced visit.
5.8. The Environmental Health Officers mentioned that a constant stream of data to
the Local Authority would be overwhelming. However, it would be beneficial to get
access when needed, to live data, without sending a request to the business.
5.9. The Environmental Health Officers involved noted that the digital records reviewed
at premise were clear and that a digital system used properly would help to improve a
business’ management score.
5.10. The Environmental Health Officers involved felt that tamper-proof data added a
layer of trust and authenticity.
5.11. The Environmental Health Officers involved also mentioned that a food business
which was poorly rated could build trust over time and benefit from being inspected
less often if it properly used daily opening and closing checks which would
demonstrate a commitment to good hygiene and housekeeping.
5.12. At a post feasibility study interview with KitchenLogs, the team felt that there is
a real need get buy in from the right people (i.e. management) at the start of the digital
implementation, else there may be issues in staff transitioning to use the new system.
This observation was not evaluated as part of the feasibility study; however, it is noted
that management for Business ‘A’ worked at an alternative site, were not actively
involved in its running and managed this restaurant remotely.
6. Conclusion and Recommendations
6.1. The feasibility study, although not designed to be a comprehensive scientific
study, has demonstrated using a small sample of businesses, the use of a digital food
safety management system as an alternative to paper-based system for poorly rated
food businesses. This study has demonstrated that digital systems could prove to be
beneficial tools in improving compliance and potentially increase the FHRS score, but
only when the business is willing to follow the procedures in place.
6.2. This study was designed as a small-scale preliminary study and there is value in
commencing to a pathfinder with a food safety management system provider. The
pathfinder would need to be designed using more analytical and scientific methods,
with more refined objectives, use a larger sample size, multi-region, use a crosssection of food businesses, run for a longer duration and use not only low rated FHRS
businesses but also high rated ones.
6.3. The increase in companies offering digital food safety management system could
be seen as an opportunity at the FSA to lead on a standard that is used as a baseline
in this industry.
7.1. The Food Standards Agency is grateful for the time, resources and input into this
• Harrow Council
• The three food business operators
i) Feasibility Study
A small scale preliminary study, conducted in order to identify feasibility, time, cost,
adverse events, predict an appropriate sample size, and help to develop the study
design prior to larger scale ‘Pathfinder’ activity
A project that increases understanding of an element of the new regulatory model. In
doing so, pathfinder projects will assist in finding out what works best for
implementation. Knowledge gained is shared openly for the benefit of the wider