The importance of sector-specific food safety training

If you work with food in any capacity and in any industry, a basic level of food safety training is essential. In fact, in most job roles relating to the processing, preparation and serving of food to the public, a qualification such as the CIEH Level 1 Award in Food Safety is a vital part of the entry criteria.

Whilst this basic level of food hygiene training can act as a great starting point for a career in a food industry position, it does not cover the specific demands of different jobs. For example, a chef in a restaurant will need entirely different training to someone responsible for food preparation in a nursing home or other health and social care setting, where meeting nutritional needs is a priority.

This is why industry-specific food hygiene training is so important. With basic level 1 training under your belt, you should then focus on developing your knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the industry you’ll be working within.

For people working in the catering, manufacturing or retail sectors, they will move on from basic training to take the CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Safety, a course tailored to the specific challenges of roles in these industries.

Cornish chef honoured with top food safety award

The head chef of a popular pub and guesthouse near St Ives in Cornwall has been honoured with a prestigious food safety and healthy eating award from Cornwall Council.

Bruce Rennie, who heads up the kitchen of The Gurnard’s Head pub and guest house, was presented with the Cornwall gold level healthier eating and food safety CHEFS award. The CHEFS awards were introduced by the council, in collaboration with trading standards, change4life and the NHS Health Promotion Service, back in 2005 in order to promote higher standards in food producing outlets throughout the region.

Inspectors visiting from Cornwall Council were particularly impressed by the exceptional standards of cleanliness in Mr Rennie’s kitchen, as well as his healthy dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

Commenting on the award, the council’s commercial food and safety officer Martin Holland stated;

“This is the most prestigious award we give and reflects extremely high standards in food safety and hygiene.”

The co-owner of The Gurnard’s Head, Charles Inkin, was keen to put his head chef’s award on public display, in order to demonstrate to customers the high levels of food hygiene training the pub’s employees have under their belts.

The 8 key principles of food safety training

If you are planning a career in the food industry or you are looking to progress in your current food-related job, it is important that you get exactly the right food safety training. Without knowledge of food hygiene standards and the experience of complying with them, it is virtually impossible to progress in any food-related career.

There are varying levels of food safety training, from basic courses to advanced training for supervisors and managers. All have the same key principles in common:

1. Government legislation relating to food safety and hygiene
2. Food hygiene and safety hazards – how to identify and prevent them
3. Food handling
4. Safe food storage
5. Temperature control
6. Refrigeration and chilling
7. Cooking and re-heating
8. Food premises and equipment and the importance of exceptional hygiene standards in these areas

Basic knowledge and understanding of these 8 key areas will serve you well in all food-related jobs, but it is important to also undergo sector-specific food hygiene training. This will prepare you for the particular challenges you may face working in the industry of your choice.

Any more advanced food safety training your choose to undergo afterwards will only be to your advantage, but it is important to get the basics right first.

Food Safety Topics Shocking food safety problems uncovered at Suffolk… Shocking food safety problems uncovered at Suffolk pub

The former landlord of a pub in Suffolk has been fined nearly £2,000 and banned from working in food outlets after a number of shocking food safety breaches were uncovered at the premises.

Officer from Environmental Health visited the Huntsman and Hounds pub in Spexhall, near Halesworth, back in December 2009. They found one of the worst cases of food hygiene breaches they had ever encountered, including:

• Food that was covered with mould or in a substantial state of decay
• Surfaces soiled with insect faeces
• Evidence that cleaning had not been undertaken for weeks
• Filthy hand basins and tea towels

Conditions at the pub were so bad that it was assumed that neither the former landlord of the pub, Lloyd Clarke, nor any of his employees had undergone any food hygiene training.

Mr Clarke, 54, admitted a total of 17 breaches of food safety regulations in a magistrate’s court in Lowestoft last week. He received a fine of £1,900 and was banned from working in food outlets. The council explained that prosecuting Mr Clarke had taken more than a year and a half as he refused to attend court and eventually had to be arrested.

Ten school canteens in North Wales fail food safety checks

According to a report published by a consumer watchdog, as many as ten school canteens in North Wales are failing to meet food hygiene standards.

The Food Standard Agency (FSA) investigated a number of schools in North Wales as part of its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, and found that many were not up to scratch.

Of those identified as poorly performing, two were in Denbighshire and eight were in Gwynedd. These schools were given a score of two or below, which means that improvements to food hygiene training and policy urgently need to be made.

Despite this criticism, a spokesperson for Gwynedd Council made the point that a lot of the problems noted in the report related to the fabric of the old school buildings rather than to the aptitude of kitchen staff.

Liz Withers, who works for Consumer Focus Wales, commented on the situation, saying:

“It is quite shocking so many schools across Wales have below standard food hygiene ratings. There can be no excuses for them failing the children they serve.

“While we are not saying parents shouldn’t let their children have school dinners this coming term, we encourage those whose local school requires improvements to put pressure on them and the local authority to raise food safety standards. Although progress has been achieved, we cannot be complacent.”

Lye shopkeepers fined for food hygiene offences

The owners of a discount store in the West Midlands town of Lye have been fined thousands of pounds by the local council after admitting a number of food hygiene offences.

Whilst on a routine inspection of the Lye Discount Store on High Street, Dudley Council’s environmental health team uncovered total of ten breaches of food hygiene and safety regulations.

The case was brought to Halesowen Magistrates Court, where shopkeepers Mohammed Nazabuth and Parveen Akhtar were accused of failures to:

– Protect food from the risk of contamination (raw meat was reportedly left hanging above salad in a chiller cabinet)
– Store refuse hygienically
– Implement a food safety management system
– Keep food premises and equipment clean and well-maintained

Mr Nazabuth, who was reportedly left in charge of the business whilst his sister Ms Akhtar was temporarily absent, admitted to not being aware of his responsibilities in relation to food safety. The pair were fined a total of £6,500 for breaching food hygiene regulations.

The offences uncovered at the Lye shop would normally be covered as part of a food hygiene course, which all people left in charge of a food-related business are recommended to undergo.

Reading food businesses falling short of food hygiene standards

Following a recent inspection, more than half of the food-serving businesses in Reading have been found to be falling short of food hygiene standards.

Reading Councilâ’s food safety team visited a total of twenty-one premises over the last twelve months, checking for things like cleanliness of premises, safe food storage and preparation and food hygiene training for staff.

What they found was quite shocking; of the 66 test samples that were taken from the knives, chopping boards and other kitchen equipment of Reading eateries, a total of 36 were considered to be below par.

The team warned businesses that even though surfaces may look clean, they could still be harbouring dangerous bacteria such as E.coli that could cause food poisoning.

The eateries which received unsatisfactory results in the inspection have now been notified and advised to make improvements. An excellent starting point for those affected could be to sharpen up food safety training for all staff within the business, moving on to implementing water-tight food hygiene management policies.

If businesses do not show signs of improvement within a reasonable time, they could potentially be shut down by the authorities for endangering public health.

Cardiff council bar fails food hygiene inspection

A private members’ bar in the headquarters of Cardiff Council has failed food hygiene inspections, leaving the council open to accusations that it is “sending out the worst possible message” to local businesses.

The bar, which is located in the basement of County Hall, was subject to a series of inspections by environmental health officers. Problems such as a dirty ice machine, food being stored at the wrong temperature and a lack of a hand washing sink were identified.

The private members’ bar received numerous warnings to improve hygiene standards and improve food safety training for staff but in the most recent inspection, in November 2010, that management had not done enough to implement a food safety management system.

The venue, which the council claims is run by an independent body, subsequently received a rating of just one out of five, which means that major improvements need to be made.

Maria Battle from Consumer Focus Wales commented on the inspection results, saying:

“Hopefully this naming and shaming in the Echo will force the management to take a more proactive approach and ensure that lessons are learned for the future, so that the body in charge of enforcing standards for other food businesses in Cardiff is setting a good example.”

Cornish tea shop celebrates food safety award

A tea shop in the Cornish city of Truro has been honoured with a prestigious food safety award for its exemplary food hygiene training standards and its healthy food offering.

The Tea Shop, situated in Trewithen Gardens near Grampound Road, has been presented with the Gold Level CHEFS Award for offering healthy, locally sourced food and maintaining excellent standards of food hygiene.

The proud owners of the tea shop, Mark and Sonya Rogers, will now be able to display the blue logo in the window of their premises to let customers know that they offer healthy menu options and are committed to delivering a high level of food safety.

Commenting on receiving the award, Mark and Sonya said:

“We would like to say a very big thank you to all our staff in helping us achieve this award and to Cornwall Council for recognising the hard work and ongoing commitment we have pledged to maintaining and continually improving standards.”

This achievement demonstrates the importance of maintaining rigorous food safety standards in all premises serving food. By ensuring all staff undergo food hygiene training and implementing a food safety policy, food-serving premises can be recognised for their commitment to serving healthy, safe and nutritious food.