Hackney Winter Night Shelter

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Food Hygiene at the Night Shelter


A volunteer prepares a meal

Hackney Winter Night Shelter has to comply with many of the same food hygiene regulations that apply to restaurants and other places that serve food to the public. In practice this means we should aim to prepare and serve food to the highest standards of hygiene that we can. The Night Shelter has never had an episode of food poisoning, and we owe it to our guests to be very careful to avoid any possible incidents.

Hackney Winter Night Shelter aims to abide by two basic standards:

•   All volunteers should receive a briefing about the key points of food hygiene.

•   Whenever food is being prepared or served, there should be someone present who has a Food Hygiene Certificate.

Food Hygiene training

We encourage volunteers to take a Food Hygiene course, and we can pay for the cost of the course. We use an online training course run by Food Safety UK which leads to a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate.

The web page for the course is here: food-safety.org.uk.

The course can be completed online in about 50 minutes. The cost is £10 – if you would like to do the course, please discuss with your Shelter Coordinator, who can arrange for you to be reimbursed for the costs.

Food Hygiene Guidelines for volunteers

We have guidelines for volunteers which you can download and print or email to your volunteer team. Click the links below to download the guidelines document:

HWNS Food Hygiene Procedures (Word document)

HWNS Food Hygiene Procedures (PDF)

These guidelines are also below on this page.

HWNS Food Hygiene Guidelines

Poor hygiene procedures will put our guests and the shelter at risk.

Harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning can multiply rapidly. Food poisoning can lead to serious illness, even death, especially amongst vulnerable people groups, which many of our guests are.

One good way to remember our hygiene policy is the “Four C’s”:

Cleaning, Cooking, Cross contamination and Chilling


A “clean as you go” policy will keep your work area safe and manageable.

Always wash your hands after handling raw meat and other raw foods, visiting the toilet, handling rubbish.

Washing up liquids are designed to dissolve grease, oil and dirt. Bleach should not be used in the kitchen.

Anti-bacterial cleaners must be used according to manufacturer’s instructions for them to be effective.

Use separate buckets and cloths for cleaning floors.

Always clean surfaces first with detergent to remove any grease or dirt then apply a food safe disinfectant or anti-bacterial cleaner to kill any remaining germs.

Always use separate cloths for separate tasks.


Pre-heat ovens.

Serve food “piping hot” if you have a temperature probe the core should be at 72°C.

Any food such as burgers, joints, chicken and should be checked to make sure they are cooked thoroughly.

Please do not serve meats that are rare or pink in the middle.

Once cooked, keep foods covered and piping hot for no more than an hour (above 63°C) until it’s time to eat them.

Cross Contamination

Food poisoning is often caused by the food handler by cross contamination (transferring harmful bacteria from one place to another).

Good food hygiene will prevent this.

Keep raw foods separate from cooked and ready-to-eat food.

Use separate chopping boards for raw and cooked foods.

Wash hands after handling raw foods and before touching other foods and utensils.

Keep the fridge clean and raw and cooked food separate.

Use separate utensils and crockery for raw and cooked foods.


Food will be brought into the shelter from the supermarket and it is important to refrigerate food as soon as possible on its arrival.

Correct use of the fridge is essential to stop bacteria multiplying.

Keep the fridge clean.

Do not overload the fridge.

Do not put hot food directly into the fridge or freezer, let it cool sufficiently first; but remember that cooling should take place for no more than an hour.

Smaller amounts of food to be chilled after cooking could be placed in a dish and then in a bowl of cold water to aid rapid cool down.

More information

Further information on Food Hygiene and the regulations we must comply with can be found on the Food Standards Agency web site.

Page details

This page was written by Jonathan Gebbie and last updated on 23rd January 2017. Please send corrections or comments to jonathan.gebbie@hwns.org.uk

Office address (for correspondence only, do not call):
Hackney Winter Night Shelter
Room 3, The Round Chapel Old School Rooms
2 Powerscroft Road
London E5 0PU

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email: info@hwns.org.uk