Under Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs it stipulates that all food handling staff must be trained to the level of their job.
There are several levels of food training, namely, induction or level 1, level 2 for food handlers dealing with open food, level 3 for supervisors and level 4 for managers/proprietors/trainers. The qualifications must be accredited, which means they are recognised by educational bodies such as Ofqual, DCELLS and CCEA and form part of the Qualification and Credit Framework. If a company elects to deliver the qualifications in-house, then they must utilise a trainer who delivers accredited qualifications, to ensure consistent quality.
Training is defined as the process of imparting knowledge and understanding to a member of staff, it is not just attending a course, competency is far more important than certification.
There are many benefits to training including:
Ability to produce safe food.
Reduction of customer complaints.
Reduction of food wastage and profit.
Happy, healthy, motivated work teams.
Increase of self worth of staff and job satisfaction.
Compliance with legal requirement.
There are many ways to train staff in food hygiene, but the best are either in a training room or online training, for staff that can’t get to a training course, or do not have the time.
Level 2 food safety courses cover the following subjects:
Introduction to food safety, microbiology, food poisoning/foodborne disease, personal hygiene, pest control, food premise design and construction, cleaning, legislation.
Level 3 and 4 cover the same syllabus but the exam structures are different. Level 3 consists of 60 multiple choice questions, whereas level 4 consists of multiple choice and long answers. The courses cover the following subjects:
Introduction to food safety, microbiology, food contamination and control, food poisoning, foodborne disease, personal hygiene and training, food hazards from purchase to serving, food spoilage and preservation, design and construction of food premises and equipment, cleaning and disinfection, integrated pest management, supervisory management, food safety legislation.
If a person wants to train food hygiene, they must gain the level 4 award in food safety and train for or hold a recognised training qualification such as a teacher’s training qualification (PGCE, Cert Ed) or a professional trainer’s certificate, the latter of which is to be replaced with the PTLLS certificate.
Many companies offer online training in food safety, issuing an in-house certificate. The problem is that this is rarely accepted by employers or enforcement authorities as it is not an accredited qualification. There is only one company in the UK offering accredited online food safety qualifications at levels 2, 3 and 4. They also offer an accredited level 2 award in health and safety in the workplace.