Health and Safety

Health and Safety – Why is safe food training important for me?

There may be a number of reasons why suitable safe food training is important to you.  Wishing to avoid mistakes which may cause food poisoning and result in severe illness or in extreme cases the death of a person who has eaten infected food, is probably at the top of your list!

Reputations make or break business’s.  Therefore, having confidence in your safe food training programme gives you peace of mind, imagine how you would feel knowing you and your staff are highly qualified trained food handlers who understand the necessity of having an excellent safe food knowledge, which is demonstrated in your practice. 

As a result of having high standards of safe food handling practice, opens up opportunities for you and allows you to be recognised. Consumers have the right to know the food hygiene standards of food businesses and your local authority will provide detailed results of food safety inspections and make them publicly available, for example Score’s on the Doors acknowledges well managed, efficient and hygienic business’s by awarding them a star rating, the higher your rating the higher the standard of compliance with safe food legislation and how the business practices to achieve this rating. This is 

Who carries out the safe food training?

Ask yourself, do I have the time to train staff and run the business? The answer is, you have to comply with the law and train staff.  Therefore, Induction training would normally be carried out “in-house” by you the owner of the business or a nominated senior member of staff, such as a supervisor, and would include essential hygiene information and awareness. 

Within a given period of time more formal training would be carried out by you or a senior member of staff or an accredited training provider, like Pennine Training Services, although in-house courses of an appropriate standard will satisfy the legal requirements, even if they are not formally accredited. Pennine Training Services can provide you with accredited and non-accredited training.

Why do I need to record safe food training details?

Imagine how you would feel, your proud of yourself, you’ve established a successful and rewarding catering business you’ve giving the business a huge commitment in time and energy, and then, you or someone who is employed by you, is accused of committing an offence under the safe food legislation, what do you do? The principal defence available to you would be  Due Diligence

This means that you have to prove that you “took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing an offence”.  Written records would be considered extremely important when trying to establish a defence in cases where the training was an issue.  

Do I need a safe food training system?

The UK has safe food laws which require food businesses to put in place, a documented safe food management system based on the principle of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) which is proportional to the business. The system you use must be able to identify potential food hazards and help you to decide which of the hazards need to be controlled to ensure safe food.  Once the hazards have been identified, effective controls have to be put into place to prevent the hazards from causing harm to consumers. A well thought out safe food system, which must incorporate training, will serve to satisfy you that the food you produce is free of hazards, and therefore, a safe product for your customers to consume. For example, are you or your staff aware of the new legislation introduced in December 2014 about the 14 allergens that are on the regulatory list that are to be emphasised on the label of a pre-packaged food if they are used as ingredients?

What is the best safe food system for me?    

Environmental Health Officers (EHO), Environment Health Practitioners (EHP) and Trading Standards Officers (TSO) make routine inspections of food premises.  They will be very keen to ensure you comply with the safe food laws.  You could use SFBB (safer food better business) a system developed by the Food Standards Agency to help you comply with the safe food regulations that have applied since 1st  January 2006.  You may decide to design your own system. Whatever you decide, you must demonstrate that you have identified the hazards and put in the control measures necessary to remove or reduce the hazards. 

What are the benefits of a safe food training system?

Looking after and caring for your customers is pivotal to the success of any food business.  People love to spend time together with children, family members and friends.  For many people dining out is a treat and the highlight of their week.  Place yourself in their position, how would you feel if you took your family out for a meal and within hours they fall ill. Would you feel guilty that you had taken them to eat out at that particular restaurant, overwhelmed at their distress and angry at the restaurant for causing the distress?

The benefits are simple, well trained staff who are fully conversant with safe food hygiene practices, is good for business!

Other benefits include:

  • you comply with the regulations

  • your demonstrating what you do to make food safe for consumption

  • trained staff

  • protects your business’s reputation

  • improves the business’s profitability e.g. by wasting less food

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