What Food Safety Training do my staff need, in order to comply with the law?
Food safety is the responsibility of everyone involved in catering and all staff must have an appropriate understanding of good food hygiene and food safety standards.
We will cover;
- What the law requires
- Different training requirements
- How the law is interpreted
How to comply with the law;
- Every food business operator has a responsibility for the level of training, instruction and supervision of food handlers.
- Training must be relevant to the role of the food handler, including food safety hazards and controls and must be effectively delivered, understood and monitored. The legal definition states ‘all food handlers must be trained commensurate with their work activity’. For food handlers, this equates to a level 2 qualification. This will be the expected level of training sought by EHO's
- A record should be kept of all relevant food handlers' training. This will be checked for during an EHO inspection. This can be written in the Safer Food Better Business pack (there is a section), a record made elsewhere or the copies of the certificates. Level 2 training should be refreshed every 3 years.
- All food businesses are responsible for the development and maintenance of a food safety programme based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP) principles. They must have received adequate training in the application of HACCP or related food safety management principles. This can be sourced from an outside agency but must be understood by the operator.
- Food handlers should be effectively supervised and instructed to ensure the work in a hygienic manner. Less experience staff and those handling high-risk foods may require a higher level of supervision. Once trained, if staff are not effectively supervised, poor habits will re-emerge.
- Instruction and supervision will also be required when changes are made e.g legislation changes or new equipment/techniques/procedures or menus.
Food safety training for food business operators, managers and supervisors
Further training is appropriate for those who specifically have a supervisory role and/or are food business operators. As food business operators, managers and supervisors have different levels of responsibility, different levels of training will be appropriate according to their duties.
The food business operator must ensure that those within the business responsible for developing and maintaining the HACCP-based food safety management procedures are adequately trained. Managers and supervisors should have knowledge equal to and above that of their staff who are handling food. Staff who are trained but not supervised will not necessarily continue to practice safe methods.
Interpretation of the law by enforcement officers and food safety training for food handlers
Environmental Health Officers interpret the law on food handlers training to mean having completed level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene. They will expect that this will be refreshed every 3 years. Food handling staff should have this level of training within three months of starting work.
All staff working in a food business will usually have to complete ‘Essentials of Food Hygiene’ (or level 1) along with Hygiene Awareness, before commencing work. This can be regarded as basic instruction to food handlers, which they should understand before commencing work. This level of instruction will usually be enough for staff not directly handling food (e.g waiters, porters, cleaners).
For management of food businesses, especially larger businesses with several staff, a level 3 qualification will be expected. This will go into more detail of food safety, legislation, food poisoning etc, and assist with supervision of staff to deliver high standards of food hygiene.
From 13th December 2014, the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011, required food businesses to provide allergy information on food sold unpackaged in, for example, catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars. It will be expected that customer-facing staff will be familiar with allergens in the menu, or be able to access relevant information easily. It is better to have written records of the allergenic content of all menu items for easy reference.
Allergen awareness training is available from Cowan Catering. We can also supply allergen documentation to assist with legal compliance.
Best practice – staff may slip into poor habits unless coached on a daily basis to remind them of good practice. It is useful to ask questions on temperatures, times etc to keep information top of their minds. Keep a record of training in the relevant section of SFBB, as certificates can become lost or mislaid. If workbooks have been completed as part of the training, these should be retained as evidence of training.
Please refer to our training page for details of the services we can offer, or contact us.