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What Food Hygiene Certificate Do I Need?

If you are starting out in the hospitality sector, you might be wondering what level of Food Hygiene training you require. If this sounds familiar, good news! This article will seek to explain where to start and what food hygiene certificate you will need for your workplace.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Under the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, there is a legal requirement that everyone who handles food in any capacity in a catering environment has to have received an appropriate level of supervision and training.

But what does this mean?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme was put in place to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving clear information about the businesses’ hygiene standards. The scheme is run in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The scheme is dedicated to assessing hygiene levels anywhere which serves food to customers such as restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars, fast-food outlets, takeaways, mobile food trucks, kitchens, hospitals, schools and supermarkets.  

Put simply, the rating reflects the standards of food hygiene found on the date of the inspection by the Environmental Health Food Safety Officer. The purpose of the scheme is dedicated to assessing hygiene levels and making sure food in the UK is safe to consume. A common misconception is that ratings reflect the food and customer experience. The food hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality or customer service.

So if you have decided to work in a catering environment there is a responsibility for yourself (or your employer) to train you sufficiently in Food Hygiene & Safety. A local food inspector will want to see a Food Hygiene Certificate when completing an inspection. Depending on your level of seniority within the workplace, you will either need to consider training in Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety. Or if you are a manager, you will need to complete a Level 3 Food Hygiene and Safety course.

The Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (RQF) is a qualification that fits this bill perfectly and is the most popular food safety qualification accepted by enforcement officers and auditors, accounting for 70% of all regulated food safety qualifications and certifying over 350,000 people every year.

What is a Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety Course?

Level 2 is comfortably the most common training course taken by everyone from sandwich makers to waiting staff and cooks. It’s a foundational course that provides a minimum qualification for anyone who is being employed to handle food. In a post-lockdown world, when consumers are more choosy about where they eat, drink and socialise, such a qualification should be a top priority for anyone planning to rejoin the workforce.

“Proper training will also ensure that there are minimal mistakes.”

It’s not only businesses that should be taking the initiative here either. Individuals hoping to find fresh employment opportunities within the sector will be employable right away if they take the course of their own accord. It could give them the extra something over others competing for the same job. Proper training will also ensure that there are minimal mistakes: something none of us can afford in this climate.

There has also been a substantial rise during the lockdown period of new, home-based businesses, with many of those who had been furloughed during the pandemic or had lost their jobs entirely taking to the kitchen to start their own delivery businesses. With so much competition in this thriving and growing sector, being able to confidently display a Level 2 qualification might give them a necessary competitive edge and will also inspire more consumer confidence in the sector in general.

What Does a Level 2 Food Hygiene Course Cover?

Law Compliance – One of the most important aspects of any hygiene and safety course is that what you are learning complies with government standards. Now, more than ever, we must be complying with the law on both a moral and customer relations level.

Food standards law compliance

Scientific Knowledge – Not only does the course cover the more general practices and precautions that employees should be taking, it also underlines the science behind those practices. This includes all of the microbiological, chemical, physical and allergenic hazards of a food-based environment and how to control them.

Practical Advice – There are several practical tips offered by the course that might otherwise be overlooked by those who haven’t come from a food preparation background. These include the practicalities of temperature control and stock rotation, as well as tips for keeping work areas and equipment clean and safe at all times.

Personal Hygiene – This is the big one, as in a post-lockdown world, whilst businesses can take every possible precaution to encourage employees to practice good hygiene, it is ultimately up to the individual. By learning the best personal hygiene practices and their significant importance, individuals will have the best possible chance of preventing contamination. This goes beyond simple hand washing and also includes best practices on protective clothing, cuts and reporting illness, which will be particularly important in a world still living with coronavirus.

Waste Disposal and Pest Control – Pest control is a fundamental aspect of every food safety course but when it comes to waste disposal, there are going to be more stringent expectations in place given the potential for coronavirus contamination.

Can you Complete a Level 2 Food Hygiene Course Online?

The Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering is a foundational training course regulated by the CCEA, OFQUAL and Qualification Wales. It’s perhaps the most affordable, reliable and popular course of its type in the UK and can be completed in a single day. Plus, we’re now able to offer it online!

“A refresher course would never be a bad idea.”

Even if you’ve already taken a Level 2 course, it’s a sector where the goalposts are always moving, now more than ever, so a refresher course would never be a bad idea. Indeed, refreshers are recommended every 3 years.

So, whether you’re an employer in the sector waiting to open up again after a long lockdown or are an individual hoping to start a business or work in the industry, it’s a qualification you simply can’t afford to overlook.

Contact the Buddy today to book your slot on the next Level 2 Food Safety in Catering Course.

Images via Unsplash and Pixabay

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