Food Safety training - What does it mean to a food business?
EC Regulation Number 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, Annex ll Chapter Xll Paragraph 1 details the legal requirement in respect of training of food handlers
So what does this mean to a food business? - A food handler is defined as any person involved in food business that handles or prepares food whether open or packaged. Food also includes ice and drink.
All food handlers must be given supervision to ensure hygiene practices are adopted. Closer supervision may be necessary for:
- New, agency or temporary staff that are awaiting formal training
- Staff handling high - risk foods
- Staff who have been trained and or instructed to ensure their knowledge is being put into practice
Supervision will highlight any bad habits or lack of understanding. It is also a tool for assessing training needs.
What training is needed?
TRAINING does not have to be delivered by an accredited body but must be of a suitable standard. It is acceptable to deliver in-house training but it is useful to demonstrate the content of such courses to Environmental Health Officers (EHO's). During food hygiene inspections by EHO's observations and questioning of food handlers will verify that they have received adequate training and are therefore competent in their role.
All training given must be commensurate with their work activities, this means that training must relate to the actual job of the individual.
Training for persons handling high-risk open foods should be equivalent of training contained in a level 2 food hygiene/safety course (i.e. Award in Food Safety in Catering) accredited by a recognised food hygiene qualification awarding body. In-house training may also be provided if it is of an equivalent training standard and covers the same course material.
Recognised awarding bodies include:
- The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
- The Royal Institute of Public Health
- The Society of Food Hygiene Technology
Your questions answered
1. What if my kitchen assistant who washes dirty equipment does not handle food?
People who do not handle food are excluded from the definition. However if an assistant does not thoroughly clean equipment it can expose food to physical and bacteriological contamination. It may be that the assistant may be asked to undertake other duties that may involve handling of food. It is suggested that it is good practice for these staff to have instruction, training or supervision.
Similarly other non food handlers such as maintenance staff, electricians and management though not involved in food handling on a daily basis can all influence the safety of the final product and can therefore benefit from training.
2. I am opening up a food business do I need my employees to have the Foundation Food Hygiene Certificate before I can open my business?
No you do not. It is recommended that employees be trained in the Essentials of Food Hygiene before starting work for the first time. For example this should cover:
- When to wash your hands
- Reporting of illness
- Separating raw and cooked foods
- The importance of telling your supervisor if something seems wrong
After 4 weeks of starting work it is recommended staff be trained in Hygiene Awareness. Within 3 months of starting work it is recommended that food handlers undertake level 2 formal training such as Award in Food Safety in Catering .
3. I work in a bar serving drinks do I need to complete food safety training?
Yes, Food Safety Laws define food to include ice and drink. Whether it is tea or beer it is covered in the regulations as long as you do not handle high-risk foods a suitable course would be Hygiene Awareness consisting of:
- The company policy
- Bacteria and their potential to cause illness
- Personal hygiene
- Cause and prevention of cross-contamination
- Food storage, protection and temperature control
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Pest control
- Instruction on critical control points or monitoring as identified on the Hazard Analysis
The Essentials of Food Hygiene
All food handlers should receive this information before they start work for the first time. You may wish to provide a copy of these points to each member of staff. These points may need amending to suit each business:
- Keep your self clean and wear clean clothing
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap; before handling food, starting work, and after using the toilet, touching your hair, handling raw foods or waste, taking a break and blowing your nose.
- Tell your supervisor before commencing work of any skin, nose or throat, stomach trouble or infected wound. It is an offence not to do so.
- Ensure cuts and sores are covered with a waterproof, high visibility dressing i.e. blue waterproof plaster.
- Do not smoke, eat or drink in a food room and never cough or sneeze over food.
- Keep perishable food either refrigerated or piping hot.
- Keep the preparation of raw and cooked foods strictly separate.
- When reheating food ensure it gets piping hot.
- Clean as you go. Keep all equipment and surfaces clean.
- Follow any food safety instruction either on food packaging or from your supervisor.
Remember food hygiene training is not a one off thing. Training should be reviewed periodically with refresher training offered to your staff on a regular basis.
REMEMBER - TRAINED STAFF ARE HAPPY STAFF
This authority is not providing Food Hygiene Training at present.