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Food Hygiene Training Requirements

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Food Business Operators must make sure that staff are adequately supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities. Also those persons involved in the development and maintenance of the food safety management system (HACCP) must receive adequate training in relation to this.

The following structure is recommended:

  • All food handlers should receive instruction on basic hygiene rules before starting work.
  • They should then receive further in depth instructions in relation to food safety that is relevant to the job they do e.g. temperature control; food poisoning; personal health and hygiene; cross contamination; food storage; waste disposal; foreign body contamination; awareness of pests and allergen advice. They should also be instructed and trained on any control or monitoring points identified by your Food Safety Management Procedure in order to ensure that the relevant practices and procedures are followed.
  • Managers or supervisors responsible for the development and maintenance of the food safety management procedures must be adequately trained in their application. This would require them to have a sound working knowledge of the procedures.
  • Staff involved in preparing high risk food, such as cooks and kitchen assistants, should be able to demonstrate the skills necessary to enable them to do their job safely within three months of their appointment. In order to achieve this, some businesses may wish to send their staff to formal Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering courses or to run equivalent formal courses in-house.
  • You may also wish to consider training staff who manage/supervise other food handlers to at least a Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering or to run equivalent formal courses in-house.


Please note that obtaining a qualification or attending formal training, provided either by an external training body or in-house, is not a legal requirement, though many businesses may want their staff to follow this route. Adequate supervision and instruction /on the job training may meet food safety training requirements.

  • Consider periodic refresher training for your staff as necessary.
  • It is recommended that you keep records of all staff training including instruction on Basic Hygiene Rules.


You may wish to ask your local Environmental Health Officer for further information on food safety courses.


Basic Hygiene Rules

All new food handlers should be instructed in these basic rules before starting work for the first time:

  • Keep yourself clean and wear clean clothing
  • Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly: before handling food, after using the toilet, handling raw foods or waste, before starting work, after each break, after blowing your nose
  • Tell your supervisor before you handle food if you suffer from any skin, nose, throat, stomach or bowel trouble or infected wound. You are breaking the law if you do not. This is particularly important if returning to work following an illness
  • If you have to visit the doctor please remember to say you are a food handler
  • Tell your supervisor if anyone in your home is ill
  • Make sure cuts and sores are covered with a waterproof dressing which can be easily seen, e.g. blue
  • Avoid unnecessary handling of food
  • Do not smoke, eat or drink in a food room, and never cough or sneeze over food
  • If you see something wrong – tell your supervisor
  • Do not prepare food too far in advance of service
  • Keep perishable food either refrigerated or piping hot
  • Keep the preparation of raw and cooked food strictly separate
  • When reheating food make sure it gets piping hot all the way through
  • Clean as you go. Keep all equipment and surfaces clean
  • Follow any food safety instructions either on food packaging or from your supervisor.