“The proprietor of a food business shall ensure that food handlers engaged in the food business are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities” The Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995.

Firstly, I would strongly recommend purchasing the Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice: Catering Guide. At £3:60 from Chadwick House Group (0171 827 5882) this guide gives clear concise advice & recommendations on training and other requirements as detailed in the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995.

All food handler training (including part time and casual staff) must start BEFORE the food handler start their duties. This initial induction training on the Essentials of Food Hygiene can be in either a written or verbal form and should include the following points:

1. Always wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, on entering food production / preparation areas, before handling food, after handling raw foods and waste materials, after breaks and after touching your face or hair and after blowing your nose.
2. Inform your supervisor or manager if you have any skin, nose throat, stomach or bowel problems or infections. Always report illness to management.
3. Cover any cuts, boils or sores with blue waterproof plasters.
4. Do not smoke or eat in any food processing, preparation or store rooms.
5. Keep yourself clean and wear the clean workwear provided correctly, including hair covering.
6. Do not cough or sneeze over food or packaging.
7. Avoid unnecessary handling of food.
8. Clean as you go
9. Observe the correct temperatures for storing products, keep chilled food below 5qC and hot foods above 63qC
10. Keep raw food away from cooked foods at all times

These are just a few points, the company should include more specific points on temperature control, jewellery regulations, thawing of foods, re-heating of foods and cleaning as appropriate to the operation.

If not already covered in the employees application form, a medical screening questionnaire must also have been completed prior to starting work.

Written instructions are preferred and these should be signed by the new employee as well as the trainer as this will provide evidence of training.

The Industry Guides go on to recommend more detailed training in the form of Hygiene Awareness Instruction and it is recommended that this instruction is given within 4 weeks of employment. The topics to be discussed in this training should include:

  • Microbiological hazards
  • Personal health & hygiene
  • Cross contamination
  • Food storage
  • Temperature control
  • Waste disposal
  • Cleaning
  • Hazards in the workplace, physical & chemical
  • Pest control

Any specific activities in the trainees job which have been identified as critical control points in the companies HACCP system must also be discussed.

The next stage in training must be formal training to Level 1 standard within 3 months of employment or as soon as possible after that date.

As a Royal Institute of Public Health & Hygiene (RIPHH) training centre we would recommend the First Certificate in Food Hygiene & Safety, this meets the requirements of a Level 1 course and over a minimum period of 6 hours tuition the following subjects are taught:

  • Principles of food safety including food poisoning micro-organisms
  • Temperature control
  • Legal obligations.
  • Microbiological, physical & chemical contamination hazards
  • Pest control
  • Contamination and cross-contamination
  • Introduction to HACCP
  • Personal standards
  • Waste disposal
  • Food storage & temperature control
  • Cleaning of premises & equipment

We will be launching SAFER FOOD On-Line in April 2000, this is the FIRST Royal Institute of Public Health & Hygiene approved Internet based hygiene training course and meets Level 1 requirements. It has been COMMENDED by the Royal Institute and awarded the Certificate of Quality and Merit.

A preview of course modules are available on our new web site on www.food-safety.co.uk visit the site and click on the Distance Learning page.

So, we have discussed the initial training recommended, it is important that food safety training continues as staff develop and are promoted within the company.

The Royal Institute has Level 2 and Level 3 courses which are recommended for supervisors, managers and owner/operators of small catering or food production businesses

Certificate in Food Hygiene & Safety (Level 2) Certificate in HACCP Principles and their Application in Food Safety (Level 2)
Diploma in Food Hygiene & Safety (Level 3)

Finally, the company should carry out a training needs analysis annually to plan training for the following year in order to develop staff in all levels of the organisation. Training records must be maintained to provide evidence of training.

Details of the full range of Royal Institute of Public Health & Hygiene courses can be obtained by contacting us at Advanced Food Safety Ltd on 01257 255910, or by e-mail info@food-safety.co.uk or via our web site on www.food-safety.co.uk.