Training of Food Handlers

Why is training important?

There are a number of reasons why training of food handlers is important:
  • Mistakes when handling food can lead to food poisoning or food contamination.
  • A poor awareness of hygiene standards can cost money either arising from legal action, compensation claims and unnecessary wastage of food due to spoilage. Where standards are very poor this can lead to the closure of food businesses.
  • The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 require proprietors of food businesses to ensure food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters appropriate to their work activities.
Why record training details?
  • Where someone is accused of committing an offence under the The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 the principal defence available to them is one of due diligence. This requires that they prove they took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence. Written records would be considered extremely important when trying to establish a defence in cases where adequacy of training was an issue.
  • Even though written records are not necessarily a legal requirement, they clearly demonstrate that measures are in place to ensure staff can recognise food safety hazards and how they should be controlled.

What type of training is appropriate?

The law requires that all staff handling food be properly supervised and instructed and that training should be appropriate for the work being undertaken.

The proprietor of the food business has the legal responsibility to ensure that his/her food handlers, and others as applicable, receive suitable and sufficient training and education in food hygiene matters. Internal training will only be accessible if the training provided is structured and appropriate and meets the needs of the individual.

Managers and proprietors who have undergone Level 3 or Level 4 food hygiene may be able to instruct and train junior staff, however, professional training is always a more effective and preferred option.

Once food handlers have undergone structured training, there must be regular reviews to ensure that their knowledge and skills remain up to date. Any lapses in knowledge should be addressed by re-instruction and where necessary further formal training.

A list of training providers is available from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health website below:

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