Take control of your Food Safety training with the HACCP App
Responsibility for ensuring that all food service staff are received the adequate food safety training falls at the feet of the Food Service manager.
Food safety is everyone’s responsibility and the every food handler should be competent for their work activity.
Not only is a robust food safety regime the mark of a quality kitchen, but it is also a key resource in demonstrating Due Diligence in the event of enforcement action following a food safety incident.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the legal dimensions of Food Safety training, the importance of an agile, hands-on approach, and how the HACCP App can make the whole process efficient and effective.
Food Safety training and the Law
Any food service business is required by law to implement and maintain a rigorous food safety strategy. There is no room for informal training. The areas to be covered and the standard to be achieved are set out in a few key pieces of legislation. These include:
Any staff member involved in food handling in relation to the business must – by law – meet the standards established in the relevant local Food Safety training regulation. Depending on the degree to which the staff member is involved in food handling, different standards apply.
For example, waiters, front of house, delivery drivers and kitchen porters need only pass Level 1 Food Hygiene since they are not typically involved in food preparation.
They do, however, need to know about safe storage, cross-contamination and personal hygiene.
Food handlers and chefs, on the other hand, will need to pass Level 2 Food Hygiene, which takes a more in-depth approach to Food-borne illnesses, hazards and contamination, storage and temperature control, hygienic premises and equipment, and HACCP.
The scope of job functions covered under Level 2 is broad. As well as restaurants, it covers cafes, bars, fast food outlets, hospitals, food trucks and schools.
Level 3 Food Hygiene is really only necessary for Food Service supervisors, kitchen managers and food managers. This certification prepares managers for the implementation and supervision of a Food Safety plan, and is a key part of the HACCP system.
What are the benefits of Food Safety training?
Clearly, an effective Food Safety regime will minimise the risk of food contamination, eliminate the transmission of harmful pathogens or communicable diseases to staff and customers, and ultimately protect the business from potentially devastating litigation or criminal charges.
Indirect benefits also apply. The restaurant business is a notoriously close-knit community where gossip pervades. If your food service business cuts corners with a slack, poorly implemented safety training approach, your reputation will be damaged among your peers, making it difficult to attract or retain quality staff. And that’s before you’ve run the risk of alienating potential customers with poor reviews or food poisoning cases. The Food Safety training schedule gives a food manager a strong opportunity to win respect and boost morale by demonstrating attention to detail, discipline, and concern for employees’ welfare.
Typically, Food Safety training will cover safe handling, hygienic preparation and storage, personal hygiene, and keeping the premises clean. Done effectively, it becomes a habit that staff barely have to think about it. But they do first have to learn the principles.
Of all the various Food Safety management systems staff and managers will encounter, those based on HACCP principles are regarded as the most effective method of preventing food-borne illness and have formed part of UK, EU and US law since 2006.
Read our blog on Online HACCP Training here
Why continued food safety training and monitoring is important
Although the law merely requires that staff be ‘trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities’ industry best practice recommends regular refresher training to meet the business risk assessments. Here’s why:
1. Humans forget. The memory degrades naturally, and the 100% knowledge staff may have at passing stage has its own expiry date. The human brain is not like a fine wine – it does not improve with time.
2. People get sloppy. Fresh from graduation, your staff may be zealots for food safety best practice. But as the realities of the high pressure culinary environment kick in, staff may return to bad habits to save time.
3. The law changes. New regulations are introduced – HACCP a case in point. In the UK in particular, changes are due by 2020 to introduce a more risk-based, segmented approach to food safety.
4. Roles change. As staff progress from food handling to food preparation to food management, their skills need to be upgraded appropriately.
Here’s how the HACCP App supports Food Safety training
Any Food Service manager worth their salt will want to invest the energy in properly training their staff. But few have the time or resources. Taking staff out the kitchen, front of house, or storage area to run classes on relevant food safety units has an effect on business performance in the short term.
With the HACCP App, ALL staff have access to ALL the training they need ALL the time. The App gives a 360 resource covering all aspects of food service operation in the palm of each person’s hand, accessible by tablet or smartphone.
Any questions? The employee can consult the support of a qualified food safety supervisor. Confused? Contextual in-app training walks the employee through each step at a pace that is comfortable and achievable.
If the law changes, or new regulations are introduced, the App can seamlessly update the core curriculum to make sure that each employee is exposed to the relevant material at the necessary stage of their career.