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Food Hygiene Courses

The requirement for food handlers to undertake food hygiene courses was introduced in the 1995 Food Hygiene Regulations. Prior to that time many food businesses did send their staff on food hygiene courses, but these tended to be those businesses with the highest food safety standards. It was not possible for the local environmental health department to require food handlers to attend food hygiene courses, however poor the standards were at the business. Of course, it is the businesses with the worst food hygiene standards that require food hygiene training the most and for the first time the 1995 Regulations allowed local councils to insist that appropriate training/instruction was undertaken. The current regulations, introduced in 2006, have repeated this requirement.

Traditionally, food hygiene courses have been run by local environmental health departments and freelance food hygiene consultants. They have been classroom based and require food handlers to attend a training venue for one whole day or part of a day over two or three days.

Guidance on the level of training appropriate for food handlers and others in the food trade is given in The Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice. These guides provided practical advice to the various food sectors; catering, retail, wholesale, baking etc. on how to comply with the requirements of the General Food Hygiene Regulations.

Although food hygiene training was initially usually carried out in the classroom, the Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice: Baking Guide specifically referred to the use of distance learning food hygiene courses.

The use of distance learning food hygiene courses has many advantages for the food business. There is no need to send staff away to attend a course, a food handler can study in quiet periods during the day and it is not necessary to provide cover whilst staff are away undertaking training.

Distance learning courses are also usually more economic than classroom-based courses. This is particularly the case when seasonal staff are employed or where there is a rapid turnover of food handling staff. A number of the largest multi-national food businesses have used food hygiene distance learning courses for many years and it is increasingly becoming the method of choice for small and medium sized businesses as well.

The Healthy Distance food hygiene courses are available as a postal course, on CD ROM and online and are used by a number of well-known food businesses, as well as small enterprises. Details of some our customers are given on our website.