Is a food hygiene certificate required by law?
There is a legal requirement for food hygiene training (EU Reg No.852/2004) but that does not mean a food hygiene certificate is always required. Instead it requires that:
- food handlers must be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters in line with their work activity; and
- those responsible for the development and maintenance of a food safety management system (FSMS) must have adequate training in the application of the HACCP principles. So what does this mean in practice?
The law defines a food handler as any person involved in a food business who handles or prepares food whether open (unwrapped) or packaged. Food includes drink and ice.
Food Hygiene Training Guidance for the Catering Industry
The Catering Industry Guide to legal compliance has been developed by UK Hospitality and approved by the Food Standards Agency. Environmental Health Officers must have regard to it when carrying out food hygiene inspections.
It states that all food handlers should
- receive training in the ‘essentials of food hygiene’ prior to starting work for the first time
- receive ‘hygiene awareness instruction’ before handling low risk food unsupervised
Team members who prepare open, high risk foods should:
- receive training equivalent to a Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering before handling food unsupervised. This is most often referred to as a Food Hygiene Certificate.
Managers or supervisors who handle food or are responsible for food safety management:
- receive training equivalent to a Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering
Suggestions for compliance
All team members:
- read and sign an ‘Essentials of Food Hygiene Form’ prior to starting work for the first time.
- receive a ‘Food Safety Induction Handbook’ which includes a test completed within 4 weeks.
- receive on the job training covering the food safety controls relevant to their job role within 4 weeks. In the meantime they should be closely supervised.
Team members who prepare open, high risk foods or have a supervisory role:
- Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (1 day or e-learning course) before handling food unsupervised
Those responsible for the development and maintenance of your food safety management system (including provision of training materials and development of recipes):
- Highfield Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering (3 day or e-learning course) within 6 months
Refresher training should take place regularly and at least every 3 years.