Which Food Safety Course Do I Need?

person carrying food in a restaurant describing what food safety training do i need

Are you considering a career in the food industry? Whether you’re fresh out of education or planning a career change, there are several food safety courses you will be required to complete before starting work in a commercial setting.

The type of training you need will depend on the industry you choose to work in and the role you fulfil.

Level 1 Food Hygiene and Safety 

Any business owner who requires its employees to handle or serve food has a legal duty to provide appropriate food safety training for their staff.

This course is specifically designed for people who only handle food and are not involved in its preparation or manufacturing, for example, kitchen porters and front of house employees.

Level one training is ideal for those who are new to food handling. It is suitable for a wide range of industries including manufacturing, catering and retail. The course covers all the basics of food safety — legislation, potential hazards when delivering and serving food, how to control and prevent food poisoning, and pest control. Anyone who takes this training will develop an excellent foundation in understanding food hygiene practices and food safety law.

Employees who are responsible for handling and preparing food will need level two training.

picture showing cyclist delivering food

Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety

Level two builds on the knowledge developed in the level one course and provides additional training for people who handle and prepare food as part of their role. By law, any employee who handles and prepares food must understand basic food hygiene and safe working practices.

Employees across a wide range of industries will require this level of training to understand their legal responsibilities and learn about best practices in food handling and preparation. Examples of employees who should take this course include:

  • Kitchen staff —   in restaurants, pubs, pizzerias and other eateries
  • Nursery nurses — who prepare food for young children
  • Mobile food van operatives — who prepare food with limited equipment
  • School kitchen staff — who prepare and serve meals to children
  • Home cake sellers — who prepare baked goods in their home to sell elsewhere
  • Supermarket bakery staff — who bake and serve products onsite

Level two training provides participants with an up-to-date understanding of food safety legislation and best practice, including:

  • How to control food safety hazards
  • How to control temperatures
  • Safe food preparation
  • Safe food storage
  • Personal hygiene
  • How to clean premises to required standards
  • HACCP principles
  • How to set up a documented food management system
  • Cross-contamination and reporting
  • Corporate liability and due diligence defence
  • Food safety enforcement action
  • Principles of food safety hazards and risks

Level 3 Food Hygiene and Safety for Supervisors

If you have management or supervisory responsibilities, the level 3 certificate will provide advanced information on food hygiene practices, legislation and controlling hazards in the workplace.

This course is suitable for senior staff working in all types of catering environments, such as fast-food restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, school kitchens and mobile catering facilities. Employees who will benefit from this course include (but are not limited to):

  • Business owner
  • Head chef
  • School or Hospital Catering Manager
  • General Manager
  • Tea Room Manager
  • Company Director
  • Fish and Chip Shop Supervisor

Completion of this course will support senior staff to maintain the necessary standards required to achieve a level 5 in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. A core element of this training is understanding how to implement an effective HACCP system.
picturing showing chefs being trained

HACCP Level 2

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, more commonly known as HACCP, is a way of managing food hygiene and safety procedures in a workplace to ensure that hazards are effectively controlled.

Article 5 of EC Regulation 852/2004 requires food business operators to implement a HACCP plan. Much like a risk assessment, a HACCP plan must identify potential hazards and put systems in place to control them. A food hazard is anything that could make a food unsafe to eat.

The HACCP plan should be based on the following seven key principles:

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis
  2. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCP) — points in the food production process when preventative measures can be implemented
  3. Establish critical limits — the extent to which a hazard must be controlled
  4. Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP
  5. Establish corrective action
  6. Establish procedures to verify that the above measures are working
  7. Establish documents and records to demonstrate the effective application of the above measures

In short, this boils down to plan, do, check and act. For a more detailed explanation of HACCP, read our blog, “Food Safety Management System and the 7 Principles of HACCP”.

HACCP Level 2 training is a perfect progression for those who have completed the Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety course. Participants will develop an understanding of key HACCP definitions, the different types of hazards and how to control them, how to avoid cross-contamination, managing physical hazards and controls, prerequisite programmes and how to implement HACCP in accordance with the seven principles.

Am I Legally Required to Undergo Food Safety Training?

Anyone who handles food has a legal duty to comply with the provisions of the EC Regulations 852/2004 of the European Parliament on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs, the Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Hygiene Regulations (England) 2005.

Brexit does not mean that the EC regulations no longer apply to businesses in the UK. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (the “EUWA”) converted directly applicable EU Regulations and Decisions into UK law and preserved any domestic law previously made to implement EU obligations. Therefore, employers must still abide by the provisions of EC Regulations 852/2004 which originate from the EU.

While there is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course, this is often the best way for a business to ensure that its people have the skills and knowledge necessary to handle food safely.

Online training has grown in popularity over recent years because it provides a convenient and affordable way for employers to train their workforce. It is good practice to attend a refresher course every three years to keep staff knowledge up-to-date and relevant. Some employers, such as the NHS, may require their staff to renew their training and certificates annually.

Howlett Health and Safety Services offer four online food safety courses — Food Hygiene and Safety levels one, two and three, and an Introduction to HACCP Level 2 Training. Participants receive a certificate upon completion and we offer discounts for employers booking for large groups of people. Contact us today to find out more and request a quote.

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