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Food hygiene training

More information on food hygiene courses and certificates.

Published: 10 February 2021

Last updated: 10 February 2021

All food handlers, their supervisors and those involved in managing food safety in food businesses must be adequately trained or have received appropriate instructions or supervision in food safety matters relevant to their role. This is a legal requirement under the food safety legislation.

In the UK, food handlers don't have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food. You must however be able to demonstrate that they have received instructions or supervision in the following ways:

  • training on-the-job
  • self-study
  • relevant prior experience

You will need to evidence what you have done to ensure all food handling staff have the appropriate skills and this will be requested by an environmental health officer when they visit your business.

As a general rule, food handlers should have training equivalent to level 2 in food safety and hygiene. Supervisors and managers should have training to at least level 3 in supervising food safety and hygiene.

Levels of food hygiene training needed:

  1. essentials - staff who handle food must receive written or verbal instructions in the essentials of food hygiene before starting work. This should include personal hygiene, temperature control, cleaning procedures and pest awareness. This training is usually done in house by management as part of an employee's induction.
  2. food safety awareness, level 1 - staff that handle low risk foods only, such as fruit and veg preparation, handle prepacked foods, or carry out only food service should be given hygiene awareness instruction. Staff such as kitchen porters, waiters and front of house staff, warehouse or stock room staff, bar staff and delivery drivers are included in this category.
  3. formal training, level 2 - staff who prepare open high risk foods, or handle foods and have a supervisory role, must have training to a level equivalent to the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) level 2 award in food safety and catering within three months of starting work.
  4. formal training, level 3 - his is an intermediate level course for supervisors and managers who need a broad understanding of food hygiene as part of their work. It also satisfies the requirement for adequate training in HACCP based food safety management systems.

The CIEH offer a range of professional and flexible training to help you advance your business including a comprehensive range of e-learning courses.

The Food Standards Agency also provide free online e-learning courses to help you and your business comply with the food hygiene and food standards legislation, including allergens.

Courses may also be available in local adult education colleges or private organisations.

Review and refresher training

It is also important for you to review and refresh staff training, instructions or supervision especially when changes are made to your business for example a change in menu or equipment. Regularly reviewing and refreshing training will ensure that the food you sell is safe to eat and things are less likely to go wrong. Any time you conduct any refresher training ensure that you record this as part of your food safety management system.