September 22, 2023

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Food Hygiene Training – How Do Food Handlers Decide How To Meet Their Learning Commitments?

The Food Regulations of the UK and EC define that a food handler should undertake formal Food Hygiene and Safety Training upon a three year cycle basis. It is true that this is a fairly modern demand as years ago it was assumed that the essential skills of food handling would be responsibly passed down from those on high to newcomers as a never ending cycle of food chain evolution.

However whereas this practice proved its worth for generations, never before has the raw food we have placed before us changed so radically in it’s diversity of source and methods of processing than it has over recent decades.

We have touched in a number of our previous articles on the changes from the old style direct supply of foods to the new multi-tiered supply chain with worldwide fingers in our distribution pie, which has added a potential for unseen hazards on a scale never before envisaged in our sharp end cycle of taking raw foods and converting them into customer ready supplies.

It is many of these new hazards combined with those of tradition that create the essential need for Food Handlers to undergo a regular cycle of training in order to ensure their fullest understanding and ability to apply safe food handling practices.

But where does a responsible and possibly time strapped Food Handler find such training if not automatically undertaken by their employer?

Local councils or catering colleges were traditionally the source but with limited training capacity and ever increasing budget pressures their convenience and affordability can often fall into question.

So eyes inevitably turn to the user friendliness and cost efficiency of an online course because:

* The internet is available 24 hours a day and training modules can studied as personal lifestyles allow.

* With much reduced overheads an internet course can be cheaper.

* Some courses even provide an online tutor backup so areas of concern can be explained on a one to one basis for guaranteed understanding.

But how does one decide which web supplier to choose for your Food Safety Certificate Level 2 in Catering as defined by syllabus from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, when all online package suppliers make such similar claims and promises?

Well there are some pointers to watch for if you are genuinely searching to increase your food safety knowledge and protect yourself under “Due Diligence” should a reportable accident actually occur from your food supply.

Points to look for when choosing you online food training supplier.

* Safe food handling is a detailed subject and cannot be done justice in under 3 – 4 hours of online tuition. By example most reputable assessors will not issue an accreditation to online Food Safety Certificate Level 2 courses that have a duration of less than 4 hours allowing for approximately 30 minutes of revision time.

* Although the main Food Regulations for the UK and EC have not altered in basic content for many years the interpretation of certain issues is a moving ship and so if a web supplier has been online for a long time what is their policy for the upgrading of information?

* The cheapest is not always the best! Research shows that for the basic Food Safety Level 2 Certificate training course, exam and printable certificate, online prices can range from around £10 to £25 for a first time student. What also should be considered is the added value that comes with the package to increase your worth as a trained food handling professional.
Examples of added value features:

Such added value items could include, training registration, which acts as added proof of your achievements, printable training records, tutor contact availability, student discounts on future courses. All such items have a cost and value which should be considered against your needs when deciding on who is the best supplier for you.

If you are a food handler by career or you would like to be, then becoming properly trained in safe food practices is no longer an option that can be simply ignored. Settling yourself into a regular cycle of training with a realistic personal cost is a small price to pay for the knowledge and confidence that you will gain in this, your chosen field.

So we hope this brief article helps you to consider at least one option in how to best meet your learning commitments as a food handler. Catering, in all of it’s many forms, is without a doubt one of the hardest jobs in the modern world, but done properly and with the right training can be one of the most rewarding careers to enter into for people at all levels of education and society.

Hobson Tarrant