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Food Hygiene Training

Links to subjects on this page:

Is Your training Up To Date
Essentials Of Food Hygiene
Checking Staffs Hygiene Awareness

Is Your Training Up To Date?

Food handlers must demonstrate competence in food safety including how food poisoning is caused, preventing cross-contamination, effective cleaning & disinfection and the importance of temperature controls. Where food handlers are not deemed competent in food safety matters, they must re-trained, instructed or supervised. It is generally recommended refresher training is done at least once every three years. Food handlers that are not deemed food safe competent must not be left in charge of a commercial catering establishment.

Food handlers should have an understanding of the following:

  • Food poisoning micro-organisms - the types and sources
  • Simple microbiology, toxins, spores, growth & death
  • Premises & equipment
  • Common food hazards - physical, chemical, and microbiological
  • Personal hygiene - basic rules and responsibilities
  • Preventing food contamination
  • Food poisoning, the symptoms and the causes
  • Cleaning & disinfection
  • Legal obligations
  • Pest control
  • Effective temperature control of food e.g. storage, thawing, reheating and cooking

As part of workplace induction, food handlers must be made aware of the essentials of food hygiene before they handle food within the business. Their hygiene awareness should also be re-assessed within 4 weeks of starting work to ensure that hygiene knowledge has been maintained. Any instruction and supervision should be undertaken by a person that is them self competent in food hygiene & safety principles.

Essentials of Food Hygiene:

  • Introduction to the businesses' written food safety management procedures (including Safer Food Better Business where applicable).
  • Personal hygiene & clean uniform or apron
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly; before handling food, after using the toilet, handling raw foods or waste, before commencing work, after every break, after blowing your nose.
  • Tell your supervisor before commencing work of any skin, nose, throat, stomach or bowel trouble or if you have an infected wound. You are breaking the law if you do not.
  • Ensure cuts and sores are covered with waterproof, high visibility dressing. Dressings should be of the blue, food-standard plaster type where possible.
  • Avoid all unnecessary handling of food.
  • Do not eat or drink in a food room. Never cough or sneeze directly over food.
  • If you see something wrong, tell your supervisor immediately.
  • Do not prepare food too far ahead in advance of service.
  • Keep perishable food either refrigerated or piping hot.
  • Keep the preparation and storage of raw and cooked foods strictly separate, even in a fridge or freezer.
  • When reheating food, ensure it gets piping hot. Use a probe to ensure that the temperature is greater than 75 degrees Celsius.
  • Clean as you go. Keep all equipment and surfaces clean.
  • Follow any food safety instructions on the food packaging or from your supervisor.

Checking Hygiene Awareness:

The following is an outline of hygiene awareness instruction. the overall aim is to develop a knowledge of the basic principles of food hygiene. The topics covered should be appropriate to the job of the individual, and may include:

  • Check the food handlers understanding of written food safety management procedures.
  • "Germs" - potential to cause illness.
  • Personal health and hygiene - need for high standards, reporting illness, rules on smoking.
  • Cross contamination - causes, prevention.
  • Food storage - protection from contamination, temperature control.
  • Waste disposal, cleaning and disinfection - materials, methods and storage.
  • 'Foreign body' contamination.
  • Awareness of pests and control measures.

In addition, staff must be shown how to do their particular job hygienically. In particular, they should be instructed on any control and monitoring points from the 'Identification of Critical Steps'. The depth, breadth, and duration of the training will be dependent upon the particular job requirement and the degree of risk involved in the food activity.

In some large organisations in-house training may be used to deliver comprehensive basic food hygiene training. In house training of an appropriate standard will satisfy the legal requirement even if it is not formally accredited by one of the organisations mentioned below.

Several national bodies provide accredited food hygiene training.  You can search for registered providers on the following websites:

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)
The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH)