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Food Hygiene Basic Certificate

For many food businesses it is a struggle to ensure that all their food handlers hold a current Food Hygiene Basic Certificate. The food trade is well known for its rapid turnover of staff. Many food business managers are reluctant to send their staff on a course to obtain a Food Hygiene Basic Certificate unless it seems likely that they will stay for a reasonable period of time.

The Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice suggest that staff handling open (unwrapped) high-risk foods should undertake a formal course leading to a Food Hygiene Basic Certificate or equivalent within three months of starting work in a food business. This is certainly the type of arrangement that an environmental health officer inspecting a food premises will be looking for to show compliance with the Food Hygiene Regulations.

Fear of action by the local authority environmental health officer is certainly not the only or best reason to ensure that food handlers have been properly trained. Everyone working with food should have the necessary knowledge to be able to handle food safely. A formal food hygiene course is the best way to gain such necessary knowledge.

If new employees claim to have received training in a previous job the manager should ask to see their Food Hygiene Basic Certificate. Without such a certificate the new employer cannot be sure that the employee has been properly trained and arrangements will need to be made for him/her to receive appropriate training. In the same way, if Agency staff are used to provide temporary cover at a food business they should be able to provide evidence of suitable training.

A question that is often asked is; How long does a Food Hygiene Basic Certificate last? From a legal point of view there is no time limit for the life of a certificate and no requirement for refresher food hygiene training. However, most authorities recommend that all food handlers update their training every three years. This will be particularly important if there have been any changes in food safety legislation or food handling practice.

One thing that can give reassurance to customers about a food business is the display of a number of Food Hygiene Basic Certificates. Prominently displayed, they indicate that the business is committed to food safety sufficiently to ensure that the staff are correctly trained. In such circumstances it is particularly important that the certificates are up to date and not dog-eared and grease splattered!

After the completion of a Healthy Distance Course a Food Hygiene Basic Certificate can be supplied to the successful candidate. The certificate carries the Healthy Distance logo and is dated. Records of all such certificates are held on the Healthy Distance database.