Catering kitchens are hot, busy and very demanding environments. Gas, naked flames, hot surfaces, heavy objects, slippery floors and many more risks are present in a commercial kitchen.
As well as kitchen hazards, food hygiene is of paramount importance in a catering kitchen. Unsafe food is responsible for many diseases, with a massive 30% of developed countries suffering from foodborne diseases each year!
Food health and 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 delve deeper into the importance of food safety training in catering kitchens, 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?
By food safety laws and in line with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food business operators must ensure that food handlers receive the appropriate supervision and training in food hygiene and food safety.
Food business operators are required, by law, to ensure their employees receive the appropriate instruction in food handling and whoever is responsible for maintaining business food safety measures must have had the correct kind of training.
With food safety concerns over an increase in food poisoning cases attributed to food eaten outside of the home, every catering kitchen and commercial kitchen must take 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 lead to a hefty fine or, 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 hazards, including physical, chemical and biological, 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 the 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 by improper storage, cross-contamination, undercooking and person-to-person contact. Food safety training will ensure that your staff are aware of the ways to prevent contamination and to correctly store food (check out our cold storage solutions). A case of food poisoning can be disastrous for any food business – it can lead to bad reviews, fines, and even closure in some extreme cases.
Cutting down on waste
Food safety training can help with quality control. When staff are properly trained, less food is spilt, contaminated or lost due to poor handling. This will decrease wastage, positively impacting profits and the environment.
Improvements in behaviour and personal hygiene
With the correct training and regular application of food safety principles, the way kitchen staff approach food handling will change and will simply become second nature.
Getting the whole team involved results in fewer accidents and injuries. Your teams 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
Foodservice businesses have a legal requirement to understand food safety and hygiene responsibilities. Food safety training will teach employees about the following disciplines;
- Safety while preparing food
- Cleaning techniques
- Storage techniques and best practice
- Minimising contamination while handling food
The main benefit is to ensure the safety of customers, but there is also an added advantage when businesses arrange for food safety training. Food wastage is reduced as food will be prepared correctly and won’t be discarded. This not only ensures that customers are safe when eating the food – but it also helps to reduce costs and has a positive impact on the environment.
How are Employees Categorised for Food Hygiene Training Courses?
There are three categories of food handler that must be trained. These categories are based on the job of the individual and also 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 – ensures that a food handler is aware of the hazards and controls associated with the types of food they produce.
Level 3 – ensures that supervisors are aware of the legislation applicable to food safety and how to communicate the required standards to employees.
Level 4 – ensures that managers are aware of the procedures and standards required to ensure safe food is 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;