Catering kitchens are hot, busy and very demanding environments. Gas, naked flames, hot surfaces, heavy objects and slippery floors are just some of the many risks of a commercial kitchen.
As well as kitchen hazards, food safety and hygiene are paramount in a catering kitchen. Over 12,000 catering businesses in the UK alone serve an increased responsibility to ensure that their food is prepared safely. Unsafe food can be responsible for serious illness, with 30% of developed countries suffering from foodborne diseases each year!
Food safety training is the most effective tool to grow your knowledge on food hygiene and health and safety duties in the kitchen to ensure that food is safe for your customers and demonstrates compliance with the law. Food safety law requires businesses to provide food handlers with an understanding of food safety to run a safe environment for staff and customers.
We dig a little deeper into the importance of food safety training in catering kitchens by covering the following points;
- Food Safety Regulations
- Food Safety Management Systems
- Benefits and Advantages of Food Safety Training
- Levels and Training Courses
What does the Law say about Food Safety Regulations?
In line with food safety laws and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food business operators are required, by law, to ensure their employees receive the appropriate instruction and training in food handling and maintain business food safety measures.
With food safety concerns over an increase in food poisoning cases attributed to food eaten outside of the home, every catering and commercial kitchen must take the required steps to ensure that all food-handling staff are supervised and/or trained in food hygiene matters.
Failure to comply with food hygiene standards and regulations can be disastrous for any food business. Cases of food poisoning can lead to bad reviews, hefty fines, closure and in extreme cases, imprisonment. Effective staff training and supervision is the best way to avoid prosecution.
Food Safety Management Systems
A food safety management system is a group of practices and procedures that have been put in place to control risks and hazards throughout the food process and ensure regulatory compliance. One system is a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
HACCP is a systematic preventative approach that identifies various physical, chemical and biological hazards and acts to eliminate the risk of them manifesting.
Who is Food Safety Training For?
As well as food handlers and new members of staff, senior members of staff – including middle and upper management, food hygiene trainers and head chefs – are all required to undertake the safety training to ensure they relay correct training to all employees.
What are the Benefits of Food Safety Training?
There are a number of reasons why your staff undertake food safety training. These include;
Reducing the Risk of Food Poisoning
Food can become contaminated in numerous ways, including improper storage, cross-contamination, undercooking and person-to-person contact, to name but a few. Food safety training will ensure that your staff are effectively clued-up on how to correctly store food and avoid contamination (check out our cold rooms to rent in London).
Cutting Down on Waste
Of course, the main benefit of food safety training is the wellbeing of customers, but there is also the added advantage of reducing food wastage. Training can help with quality control and environmental health. When staff have acquired the correct training, less food is spilt, contaminated or lost due to poor handling, which, in turn, will decrease wastage, positively impacting profits and the environment.
Improvements in Behaviour and Personal Hygiene
With the required training and regular application of food safety principles, the way in which your kitchen staff will approach food handling will change for the better, becoming second nature to them.
Getting the whole team involved results in fewer accidents and injuries. Your employees will be able to work safely in the kitchen environment, meaning less downtime through injuries and sickness.
Food Safety Training Courses
A food safety qualification ensures food handlers gain a firm grasp of the importance of food hygiene and knowledge of the systems, techniques and procedures involved. Foodservice staff that have successfully completed a food hygiene course will also have the confidence and expertise to deliver quality food safely to customers.
Arranging Staff Food Safety Training
Food service businesses have a legal requirement to understand food safety responsibilities and hygienic practices. Food safety training will teach employees about the following disciplines;
- Safety while preparing food
- Cleaning and disinfection techniques
- Storage techniques and best practice
- Minimising contamination while handling food
How are Employees Categorised for Food Hygiene Training Courses?
Food hygiene categories are based on the job of the individual and on the type of food they handle. Those involved in the handling and preparation of ‘high-risk’ foods will need more training than those only involved with ‘low-risk’ items.
Food Safety Levels
Level 2 Food Hygiene – ensures that a food handler is aware of the hazards and controls associated with the types of food they produce.
Level 3 Food Hygiene – ensures that supervisors are aware of the legislation applicable to food safety and how to communicate the required standards to employees.
Level 4 Food Hygiene – ensures that managers are aware of the procedures and standards required for safe food to be served at all times and that due diligence is taken.
What Level of Training is Required for Food Hygiene?
The below table shows employee vs training required;
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