Food handlers must have the skills and knowledge that they need to handle food safety as they carry out the work that they are responsible for. They do not need skills and knowledge for other jobs in the business. For example, in a catering business, someone who makes sandwiches will need skills and knowledge that are quite different from the skills and knowledge needed by someone who does the cleaning for the business.
However, if some staff help with other work when people are away, or sometimes supervise other food handlers, then they must also have the skills and knowledge for this other work, as well as the skills and knowledge to do their regular work.
Staff skills and knowledge must include food safety and food hygiene matters. Food safety issues cover what staff must do to food to keep food safe. Food hygiene practices cover what staff must do to keep things clean so they do not contaminate food.
Formal training is not required. There are many different things you can do and factors you can take into account to ensure that staff have the skills and knowledge they need for their work. Some examples are:
- ‘in house’ training by a staff member or the owner of the business
- giving staff food safety and food hygiene information for them to read
- developing standard operating rules that set out the responsibilities of food handlers and their supervisors
- sending staff to food safety courses run by other people
- hiring a consultant to run a course for the staff of the business
- recruiting staff with formal industry based training qualifications
- signs located throughout work area (eg poster on how to wash hands located over hand basin)
You can choose the approach that best suits your business, provided you can be confident your staff have the skills and knowledge needed for the work they do.
Businesses which ensure that their food handlers have safe food handling skills and knowledge, who supervise the work of their staff and who regularly remind them about safe food handling practices, should find it easy to comply with the skills and knowledge requirement.
How to Be Food Safe
Understand and comply with health and safety food standards, to ensure the food you are selling is safe for your customers.
Want to know more about food hygiene and food safety?
For a very low investment, why not download a copy of
‘How to Be Food Safe’ eBook
and find out if your food is safe for your customers.