Any food produced for public consumption must meet hygiene and quality requirements.

Every new starter in a food related business must receive food safety training and attend a health and safety course. This, however, should not be perceived as the end of the training process. Refresher food and safety courses should be taken every three years to ensure adherence to legislation and to remind staff and management of their responsibilities.

Food safety courses are simple to arrange and cost effective. Training is available online, in classroom or on-site. There really is no valid excuse for not taking food safety courses.

The owner or manager of a business may not welcome the expenditure on food safety courses but when compared to the ramifications of a food hygiene incident, the fee and the training hours are worth the investment. They could save your eatery from fines, a ruined reputation and possibly closure.

It may seem like a small error to miss out an allergen on an ingredients list, nuts or lactose for example, to note the fat content incorrectly or to use one day out of date butter but these all have the potential to cause harm to consumers and in some cases death.

Carrying out a kitchen hygiene audit unannounced is often a revelation for management who may have preferred to believe that their staff were utilising best practices with no lapses or personal habits creeping in to processes. Food safety training offers the correct methods and informs attendees why it is imperative to use them. It is good sense and management to address issues long before an official FSA visit. Be proactive about passing every point on the audit.

The Food Standards Agency has a clear message about the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme, operated in partnership with UK local authorities:

“All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating. If they do not, the food safety officer will tell them what improvements they need to make to achieve a higher rating.”

Below is a food and safety training course example, available through leading firms including Food Alert.

Level 3 Award Food Safety in Catering is a CIEH – Chartered Institute of Environmental Health – accredited course.

Overview:

  • Applying and monitoring good hygiene practices.
  • Microbiology, factors of bacteria multiplication, threats of food poisoning, prevention of food contamination, types of contamination.
  • Temperature control. Various methods of measuring food temperatures, heating and cooling temperatures and stages of cook-chill.
  • Workplace/equipment design.
  • Waste disposal, cleaning and disinfection.
  • Types of pests, their impact and methods to control pests.
  • Personal hygiene standards of staff – The importance of good personal hygiene in the workplace and the role of the supervisor in ensuring this.
  • Contribution to staff training – legal regulations on training. Good communications and record keeping.
  • Implementation of a food safety management system and procedures.
  • Food safety management tools – the HACCP system.
  • Food legislation and supervisory management – Legislation in food businesses, how it is enforced, employer and employee responsibilities. Due diligence.

Don’t neglect education; your business survival depends on excellent, correct operations.

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