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Food Handlers Hygiene Training

There are two legal requirements for food handlers hygiene training in the United Kingdom.

Firstly: “all food handlers must be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activity” (REGULATION (EC) No. 852/2004 – GENERAL REQUIREMENTS – ANNEXE ll - CHAPTER XII).

This is a rather complicated way of saying that everyone working with food must know what they are doing and not put consumers at risk because of their ignorance.

If you look at the Regulation above you will see that every food handler has to be supervised and instructed OR trained and some may need to be supervised and instructed AND trained.

The key to whether a particular individual requires supervision and instruction or food handlers hygiene training depends on what they do. This is what the Regulations mean when they talk about commensurate with their work activities.

In general, industry guides to good practice state that the law will be complied with if those who handle or prepare high-risk open food (such as chefs, cooks, delicatessen staff etc.) complete formal training to Level 2 within the National Qualifications Framework within 3 months of starting work. In addition, any staff who have a supervisory role (such as an owner, manager, or supervisor) should also complete formal training to Level 2, even if they themselves do not handle high-risk open food.

The Healthy Distance Basic Food Hygiene Distance Learning courses are a convenient way to carry out food handlers hygiene training.

The second legal requirement is: “those responsible for the development and maintenance of the food safety management system ….must have received adequate training in the application of HACCP principles” (REGULATION (EC) No. 852/2004 – GENERAL REQUIREMENTS – ANNEXE ll - CHAPTER XII - simplified).

In other words, if someone is to put into place a Food Safety Management System they must have the knowledge to do it satisfactorily.

There is no legal requirement for a person to receive formal food handlers hygiene training leading to a particular qualification in Food Safety Management but they must be able to put into place and maintain a Food Safety Management System suitable for their own business.

Once a Food Safety Management System has been introduced into a business it is vital that food handlers hygiene training is carried out to ensure all staff can to use the system properly. All staff must be aware of their particular role in keeping food safe and must be provided with the necessary information and skills to do this.