14th June to 20th June is Food Safety Week, and as anything related to food immediately grabs my attention, I was interested in finding out more. This led me to think about why Food Hygiene Training is so important and what the Food Hygiene ratings mean.
We all know that when we go for a meal or get a takeaway, that the establishment tends to post their ‘food hygiene’ rating on a sticker on the door or window (and if you’re anything like me, you won’t eat there if they’re rated below a 4 or 5) but how many of us know what the Food hygiene ratings represent and what the venue must do to score highly?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The Food Hygiene Rating scheme was established by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to rate food businesses within the UK based on their safety standards and hygiene levels. It applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland with Scotland having their own system, the Food Hygiene Information Scheme.
Government advice states that all premises must ensure that:
- food is safe to eat
- they don’t add, remove, or treat food in a way that makes it harmful to eat
- the food is the same quality that they say it is
- they don’t mislead people by the way food is labelled, advertised, or marketed
- they keep records on the traceability of food and show this information on demand
- they withdraw unsafe food and complete an incident report
- they tell people why food has been withdrawn or recalled, for example by using a leaflet or poster
- they display your food hygiene rating (if they sell food directly to the public)
When a new business supplying, selling or involved in the consumption of food opens, an Environmental Health Officer is sent by the Food Standards Agency to inspect the premises and they will award a Food Hygiene Rating reflecting the standards of food hygiene found on the date of the inspection by the local authority. The food hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality and are ranked from 0 – 5 (see below).
- 5 – hygiene standards are very good
- 4 – hygiene standards are good
- 3 – hygiene standards are generally satisfactory
- 2 – some improvement is necessary
- 1 – major improvement is necessary
- 0 – urgent improvement is required
Food Safety Inspections
At the Food Safety Inspection, the Environmental Health Office will check the following things:
- how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
- the physical condition of the business –including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities
- how the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training, and systems to ensure good hygiene is maintained. The officer can then assess the level of confidence in standards being maintained in the future
To achieve a Level 5 rating, businesses must meet all the criteria above. If they do not achieve this rating, the Environmental Health Officer will explain the actions they can take to improve their Hygiene Rating in the future.
The ratings can be found online and on stickers which are displayed at business premises. The back of the sticker and the online rating will also show the date of the inspection by the local authority’s food safety officer.
Many organisations like to undertake training to help them achieve and retain the Level 5 rating such as our Achieving Food Rating Level 5 Training Course.
Food Hygiene Training for Employees
In addition to ensuring that the standards of their establishment meet Government requirements, by law food business operators must ensure that all food handlers employed by them receive the appropriate supervision and training in food hygiene.
Training must be relevant to the area they work in and will enable them to handle food in the safest way. Employers can offer a formal training programme or informal training, such as on the job training or self-study.
Many organisations choose to use online training courses for their staff training for the following reasons:
- Online Food Hygiene Training is quick and easy to access
- Employees can complete their training at a time to suit them
- Employees receive a certificate at the end of their training.
- Here at REALSENSE, all our courses give access to our unique Learning Management System Activbase which will also log all staff training records so that employers can monitor staff progress and always ensure staff compliance.
How do I know which training is most suitable for my employees?
Level 1 Food Safety Training is for all staff who work in a food production or retail business and who handle wrapped or low risk foods. This training covers the basic requirements of food hygiene and safety such as:
- Food safety legislation
- Contamination and potential hazards
- How to keep work areas clean
- Personal Hygiene
This course would be suitable for check out staff, those handling food in a warehouse, waiters or waitresses and other roles that deal with low risk or wrapped food.
Level 2 Food Safety Training is the most in-demand course for employees involved in the handling, preparation and serving of food. In addition to the areas covered in the Level 1 training, the Level 2 course:
- Provides users with an advanced awareness of the dangers arising from poor food safety
- Gives a thorough understanding of the relevant law and legislation
- Makes learners aware of their legal responsibility when handling food
- Ensures learners have a detailed knowledge of how to control and prevent contamination and risk.
The Level 2 course is used in many environments, including (but not limited to) restaurants, pubs, hotels, takeaways, supermarkets and retail environments, mobile food trucks, hospitals, schools, nurseries and by food and drink manufacturers.
We provide courses specific to the Catering, Manufacturing and Retail industries and can help ensure that all industries achieve Food Hygiene Safety Compliance.
For a free trial of any of these courses or for more information, please get in touch.
- Level 1 Food Safety Catering Training
- Level 1 Food Safety Manufacturing Training
- Level 1 Food Safety Retail Training
- Level 2 Food Safety Manufacturing Training
- Level 2 Food Safety Retail Training