NavitasHealth and Safety Complete Guide To Food Hygiene Training Laws
Food Hygiene Training - All you need to know

Complete Guide To Food Hygiene Training Laws

Do you work with food and want to be more confident in your hygiene practices? Do you manage a team and are unsure about the hygiene training they need? This is your complete guide to the food hygiene training laws, the certifications you need, and why it’s important to get training right.

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Use any of the links below to navigate to specific information around food hygiene training law:

> What does food hygiene training cover?

> Why is food hygiene training important?

> Do I need a food hygiene certificate to work with or sell food?

> What type of training must food handlers receive by law?

> When should staff receive food hygiene training?

> How long does a food hygiene course take?

> Where can I get training in food hygiene?

What does food hygiene training cover?

Food hygiene is essential to keeping your customers and staff safe. If the food you serve puts people at risk of food poisoning and other illnesses, then your business could be shut down immediately. Everyone in your business should be trained in the basics of food hygiene by law, which focus on the 4Cs:

  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Chilling
  • Cross-contamination

The 4Cs cover how the food is handled from the point of it arriving on your premises to how it’s served. They also cover the personal hygiene of staff, as contagious illnesses can be passed to customers as well as those related to food poisoning.

Anyone who manages a food business must be trained on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). HACCP is a framework for managing food hygiene and safety procedures. Food businesses are legally required to follow HACCP, and will fail an EHO audit if they don’t. 

Food hygiene training can also cover specialist areas – like vacuum packing and sous vide – or help you with best practice in a particular setting.

Why is food hygiene training important?

Bad food hygiene can affect the health of your customers and your staff. Making people sick isn’t the best way to promote your business, and if you don’t end up closing from bad reputation alone, an Environmental Health Officer could close the doors for you. 

The most serious breaches of food hygiene and safety by an individual can result in a jail sentence and a ban on opening any type of food business.

Luckily, all these things can be avoided with the right training.

If you manage a food business, it’s your legal responsibility to make sure staff are trained in food hygiene. Individual staff can also be held legally responsible for serious infringements of food hygiene standards.

Inspectors do consider training when they look at the hygiene practices in your business. It can affect your safety rating if they don’t think staff know enough or do enough to support good hygiene. In fact, if you don’t get a 5* safety rating, the inspector is likely to recommend food hygiene and safety training to help you improve.

If you have received a hygiene improvement or prohibition notice from your local environmental health enforcement officer, then you will need to make some urgent changes within a set period of time, prior to your next inspection. If you fail to make these changes, you could get stamped with a bad food safety rating, or worse, face immediate closer until you improve standards. Navitas offers a free of charge urgent hygiene support helpline should you need it.

Do I need a food hygiene certificate to work with or sell food?

In the UK, you do not legally need to have a food hygiene certificate to work with or sell food. 

But a certificate is the best way to show that you’re serious about food hygiene standards. It’s also solid proof that managers have provided staff with food hygiene training –  this is important, as it’s their legal duty to do so.

Navitas recommends these food hygiene certifications. Each one is industry recognised and the certification lasts for three years:

What type of training must food handlers receive by law?

There is no law about what type of training food handlers should receive. The Food Standards Agency says that training can be done on-the-job, through self-study or through relevant previous experience. 

If you’re someone who manages food handlers, you’re legally responsible for making sure they are fully aware of and are practicing good food hygiene. You need to consider what type of training can best deliver those results.

Training on the job isn’t the best way to prepare new starters, especially if they are new to catering. They might not know what’s expected of them, and more experienced staff might not have the time or the knowledge to help them effectively.  

Previous experience is great, but you can’t guarantee its quality or relevance.

The best type of training is through a structured course that covers all the crucial elements of food hygiene. That way, you can prove that training has taken place and can guarantee its quality. Many courses are CPD approved, meaning that they meet a recognised industry standard. 

When should staff receive food hygiene training?

Managers must make sure that any new member of staff that handles food is trained on food hygiene and allergens before they start. This is part of the legal responsibilities that managers have in any business where food is prepared and sold.

Food hygiene training for new starters

It’s important to make sure that your business has a solid induction process in place for new starters. It should include:

  • A checklist of what needs to be covered in their training
  • Who will monitor the training
  • How the training will be delivered
  • The time frame for completing training
  • Ways to check the trainee has completed and understood their course

Ongoing food hygiene training

People’s roles might change over time to be more involved with certain types of food preparation. Also, new legislation can bring new responsibilities – like Natasha’s Law on allergen handling, which comes into effect in 2021.

Managers can keep on top of food hygiene training by following these basic steps:

  • Keep records of all training staff have received
  • Set up alerts to let you know when certifications expire
  • Make sure any reported incidents are followed up with training
  • Use audit results to identify gaps in food hygiene training

Enforced food hygiene training

If your business doesn’t get the top safety rating in an inspection, the EHO will advise you on ways to improve your hygiene practices. This will most likely involve food hygiene and safety training. It’s best not to wait until then, though! By keeping on top of food hygiene training and best practice, you can get that 5* rating in the bag the first time!

How long does a food hygiene course take?

When you’re on your feet all day at work, your idea of a break probably doesn’t involve studying food poisoning and disinfection. It can also be difficult to squeeze training in around shifts. But you’d be surprised how quickly you can get food safety training done and ticked off your ‘to-do’ list. 

These examples can all be done in one day, or split into sessions if you opt for an online training course:

  • Level 1 Introduction to Food Safety in Catering – 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Level 2 Food Safety in Catering – 3-4 hours
  • Level 3 Managing Food Safety – 5-6 hours

These times are for online courses offered by the Navitas Online Training Academy which are designed to be more time-saving and flexible.

Where can I get training in food hygiene?

There are many places that offer courses on food hygiene, including your local authority, colleges and online providers

It’s recommended that you check the credibility of each course before booking on. Some will be CPD certified, which means that the standard is industry recognised. Many will be developed and approved by Environmental Health Officers, so you can trust that the information is reliable and practical.  

When it comes to choosing the method of training, think about how much it will cost and how long it will take. Most courses can be done in a day, but online courses can be split into bite size sessions so you can arrange your learning in a more flexible way.

Navitas Food Hygiene Training

Navitas has put over 30 years’ worth of expertise into our online training, which covers everything you need to comply with food hygiene training laws. All of our courses feature gamification, interactive content and can be completed online at any time that suits you via any device you choose (Mobile, Desktop or Tablet). You can find out more about the Navitas Training Academy on our website or you can visit the Navitas Store where you can instantly enrol and complete our off the shelf training.

author avatar
Daniel Reid

Navitas is a single destination for safety. We uniquely provide a 360 degree solution which keeps your people, customers and reputation safe. We provide guidance from our environmental health experts, breaking news and some lighted hearted blogs along the way.

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