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Food Safety Training

For most food businesses, the law on food safety training is to be found in the European Food Regulations EC Regulation 852/2004 which was enacted by the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2005 and similar regulations in the rest of the UK. This legislation came into force on 1st January 2006.

Put simply, these require all food handlers to be supervised and instructed and/or to have received food safety training appropriate to the work they carry out. The key to whether a particular food handler requires supervision and instruction or food safety training depends on what they do. Clearly, those that work with open (unwrapped) high-risk foods need more detailed training than those handling wrapped low-risk foods.

Guidance on appropriate food safety training is given in the various Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice, which Local Authority environmental health officers are obliged to take note of when carrying out their routine food safety inspections. These Industry Guides provide 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.

In general, these Industry Guides 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 within 3 months of starting work. The Guides also state that, in addition, any food handlers who have a supervisory role (such as manager, owner, supervisor) should also complete formal food safety training even if they themselves do not handle high-risk open food.

The areas of study that formal food safety training should cover are set out in The Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice. The Healthy Distance Basic Food Hygiene Course covers all these areas including basic microbiology, prevention of food contamination, temperature control, cleaning, disinfection, pest control and the law.

To summarise, some form of formal food safety training is appropriate for persons who prepare or handle high-risk open food or have supervisory responsibilities. The Healthy Distance Basic Food Hygiene Course meets these requirements.

There is a second legal requirement that those responsible for the development and maintenance of the Food Safety Management System at a food business must have received adequate training in the application of HACCP principles.

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 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.