Everyone that owns and runs a food business, a retail shop, a grocers, a butchers, a takeaway, a restaurant or a manufacturers must know how to run the business hygienically and to work safely. Staff who handle food must be supervised and trained and/or instructed to work safely. Completing the Level 2 Award in Food Safety and Catering and Health and Safety or equivalent, is one way to meet this requirement.
All food handlers will require basic training before they start work including personal hygiene and what to do if they have a stomach upset.
Deciding what level of training you need
The degree of training needed by staff depends on what they do. For example, people involved in preparing open high-risk foods (eg chefs, cooks, catering assistants, people who make sandwiches, etc) need a higher level of training than those who wait on customers or wash up.
Food hygiene training
There are 3 levels of food hygiene training, use these explanations as a suggested guide to the level your staff should be trained:
1. Basic awareness - for washing up staff, porters - the essentials of food hygiene - the very basics of food hygiene - aimed at everyone employed in a food business.
2. Hygiene awareness training - for waiting staff, counter staff, cellar men, bar staff, retail staff etc - detailed food hygiene information aimed at food handlers involved with on-site support and front-of-house activities but not directly involved in the preparation of open foods.
3. Formal training - for food handlers who prepare and handle open food eg chefs, cooks, kitchen assistants, home caterers and/or mobile catering businesses. The course for this is called Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (it used to be called the Foundation Certificate or the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate.)
Formal training should cover the following:
- food poisoning micro-organisms types and sources including simple microbiology, toxins, spores, growth and death
- premises and equipment
- common food hazards - physical, chemical and microbiological
- personal hygiene - basic rules and responsibilities
- preventing food contamination
- cleaning and disinfection
- legal obligations
- pest control and
- effective temperature control of food e.g. storage, thawing, reheating and cooking
It is also good practice if managers, head chefs and food business owners take more advanced training which covers food hygiene management systems and HACCP principles in more detail.
Health and safety training
Under health and safety legislation staff should be trained so that they work as safely as possible without risk to themselves, colleagues or others. Courses are available.
Where to find training
A number of suppliers offer training, and we recommend you search for Food Safety in catering Level 2 training courses on the web.
Accredited training providers under the RSPH (Royal Society of the Protection of Health) and City & Guilds accreditation provide good standard of food training. However, there are many other companies that that will provide training on food safety.
You can find out more about suitable courses from your local authority, local library, further education college or contact one of the awarding bodies for food safety. You can find details about awarding bodies on the internet.
The Food Standards Agency also has food safety advice and training videos.
We recommend all staff attend a refresher course every 3 years. Keep a record of the training you and your staff have completed.
Food and safety team
Food and safety team
6th Floor, Zone A
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon CR0 1EA