There were more than 74,000 reported incidences of food poisoning in England and Wales in 2009, a figure that many believe to be an underestimate. The true number is thought to be much higher, as many people do not tend to report their illness to the authorities. Some surveys estimate that one in five of the UK population is affected by an infectious intestinal disease each year. With statistics like these its easy to see why preparing food safely and hygienically is vital to staying fit, safe and healthy.
The level of training required for food handlers
Under current legislation, food business operators must ensure that their staff are adequately trained and instructed in food hygiene matters. The level of training needs to relate to the specific job of the employee and also the type of food they handle. For instance, people who handle open high risk foods, such as cooked meats, will require more advanced training than someone who handles low risk foods such as wrapped sweets and crisps. Therefore the training each person needs will depend on the job they do and the type of food they handle. Meaning that those who handle `high risk’ food will need more training than those who handle `low-risk’ food. Its also not just food handlers who need training, managers, business owners and team leaders, who do not physically handle food themselves, should also be trained to a level so that they have enough knowledge and understanding to be able to supervise staff under them.
Legal requirements for formal food hygiene training
You may be surprised to learn that there is no legal requirement for anyone working with food to have a ‘food hygiene certificate’ of any sort. However there is a legal requirement for them to be ‘appropriately trained’, and this is where the need for a accredited food hygiene certificate comes in. The authorities ( i.e. Environment Health Officers or the Foods Standards Agency) may at some stage in the future ask you to show them that you are adequately trained and competent enough to be able to work with food. One way to prove to them that you have the necessary skills, is by taking an online food hygiene course, passing it and obtaining a certificate.
Our food hygiene courses
Our company is a growing provider of practical and intense online courses, that students can study at their own pace, and which can lead to nationally recognised qualifications. The modules included in them, along with the way they are structured will make it easy for you to acquire and update those essential skills which are needed for your professional development. Our course are run in a interactive virtual learning environment, and can be studied with no previous qualifications, subject knowledge or experience of e-learning. They are suitable for anyone working in a environment where food or drinks are prepared, cooked or served. In training quality matters, and after studying our online training material and successfully passing our online test, you can be assured that you are on the way to meeting the high standards needed to work in the food industry.
Instant printable certificate – become legally compliant today!
Upon completion of our course, you will have the option of printing off an instant Food Hygiene Certificate.
Our courses are ideal for anyone working in
- Butchers shops
- Care homes
- Catering vans
- Community care
- Fast food outlets
- Home business (making cakes etc)
- Market stalls
- Petrol stations
- Retail environments
They are suitable for the following industries
Key points about our courses
- Cover all the fundamental points of hygiene and safety.
- Instant access.
- The training material, course content and online tests are of the highest quality.
- They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- All courses will contain a certain amount of HACCP content.
- Takes on average no more than 3 hours to complete.
- Our aim is to offer the widest choice of courses on the internet.
On our food hygiene course students will learn about
- Producing food that is wholesome and produced in a clean, hygienic manner.
- Common food hazards
- Meeting strict hygiene standards.
- Temperature control and how to control the growth of bacteria on cooked foods, pies with added gelatine or products containing cream and custard by the proper use of temperature control measures.
- What to do if they have a illness i.e. upset stomach.
- The causes of food poisoning.
- The importance of stock rotation.
- Good personal hygiene.
- Food storage.
- Legal obligations.
- Foreign body contamination.
- Waste disposal.
- Pest control.
- Personal hygiene – basic rules and responsibilities.
- Introduction to microbiology and toxins.
- Food poisoning – symptoms and causes.
- Reducing food spoilage.
- Food allergies.
The benefits of having a food hygiene certificate
- If you are a business owner it can protect you from possible future litigation by showing that you have complied with food hygiene standards. It can provide you with a defence in the event of a food poisoning outbreak leading to court action.
- For companies it can improve employee retention, decrease lost working days and reduce insurance premiums.
- For food handlers it will demonstrate that they are competent to work in a environment where foodstuff is prepared, handled and sold.
- Good hygiene prevents food poisoning and protects a business’s reputation with its customers.
- Will keep food handlers up to date in the latest developments and good practices.
- Candidates who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate that can improve their job prospects.
- Will enhance your career path by giving you a competitive edge in a tough jobs market.
Our company offers students support both by phone, 0870 061 0121 (during office hours) and email.
How long do courses usually take
The average time it takes a candidate to complete our online course is normally 3 hours.
Exams and assessment for online courses
Our courses incorporate a multiple-choice exam at the end.
Ideal as refresher courses
It is recommended that people working in the food industry should enrol on a course and obtain a current hygiene course certificate every three years in order to keep their skills and knowledge fresh and take account of changes in legislation and practice.
The license gives you unlimited online access for one year from the date of purchase.
All our online courses are delivered in English unless stated otherwise. All students must therefore have a good comprehension of written and spoken English to be able to understand and take the course.
The online courses we run are designed to make the training friendly, understandable and as easily as possible. To help students as much as possible our interactive courses have;
- Animations and illustrations
- Colour photos
- Printable PDF summaries to use as guides
Advantages of online training
- Online learning offers cost savings over face-to-face training.
- The courses are very flexible and can fit around a existing job and personal life.
- The certificate earned on a online food hygiene course are the equivalent in value to a day long classroom courses.
Upon completion of the course material, learners will have to take an online test and after passing this they will have a option to instantly print off a PDF quality Food Hygiene Certificate. This is similar to what many other online training companies do. It is acceptable, legitimate and in accordance with the official qualification guidelines.
Take the test as many times as you need to
To successfully complete the course students are required to achieve a pass mark of 70%. We acknowledge that some students may not be able to achieve this high rate on their first attempt. Therefore on our courses candidates are allowed to re-sit the tests (and revisit the training material) as many times as they need, to pass the course. Our modern e-learning system can fully assist them in their training by recording and saving a student’s progress every time they log in and out of the course (all at no extra cost).
The importance of picking the right course
Each food and hygiene course is set to a different level of training, and is suitable for a particular job role and industry. Remember that all food safety qualifications at level 1, 2 and 3 are sector specific, its therefore important that you choose that is relevant to your career objectives and learning needs. Below is list of the various levels of food hygiene courses we offer, details of what the course content and also examples of the job roles they are suitable for.
Food Hygiene Course Level 1
This self study course will introduce you to the basic principles of Food Safety and Hygiene. It is suitable for any person who is working in (or wants to find employment in) the catering industry, such as hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants, kitchens, fast food outlets, and catering in hospitals or schools. It is NOT suitable for anyone handles or prepares High Risk Food, however it is ideal for staff who;
- Have minimal or no prior food safety knowledge.
- Handle low-risk or wrapped foods.
- Who speak English as a second language.
- Have special needs.
- Are customer facing, such as waiters or check out personnel.
- Back room operators such as kitchen porters or warehouse operatives.
- Clean tables.
- Maintain stores.
- Delivers ‘meals on wheels’.
- Work in food factories but not in “high risk” sections of the plant.
Examples of the job roles it is suitable for
- Shop staff who may sell deli items.
- Employees of a manufacturers who sell low risk food.
- Waiters or waitresses who carry food.
- Bar staff who handle bottled drinks, ice or sandwiches that are packed.
- Counter staff.
- Food delivery staff.
- Other non-food contractors who enter the food premises and who’s work could affect food safety.
Course modules will include
- Food hygiene
- Food safety
Food Hygiene Course Level 2
The Level 2 Award in Food Safety is aimed at those people who handle or prepare open foods. It is focused on showing students how to handle and prepare food so that is safe and will not cause illness to anyone who eats it. Course modules will include;
- Legislation relating to food hygiene and safety.
- Temperature control
- Food handling
- Food premises and equipment
- Food poisoning
- Temperature control
- Food contamination
They are suitable for anyone who serves food to vulnerable groups, i.e. the elderly, the sick or the young. Examples of the job roles it is suitable for;
- Bar staff who prepare food.
- Kitchen assistants.
- Catering supervisors.
- Takeaway workers.
- Shop assistants serving unwrapped cream cakes.
The course ends with a short multiple-choice test where candidates will need to achieve certain number of correct answers from a set of questions.
Food Hygiene Level 3
This course focuses on the responsibility of management in the food business. It is a more advanced stage that Level 1 or 2, and deals with food hygiene in more detail by covering management and food safety systems. It provides an overview of the policies, controls and procedures of HACCP principles/systems.
Course modules will include
- Monitoring of staff.
- Implementing good food safety procedures.
- Defining the terms of food hygiene.
- Defining the role of a supervisor in food safety.
- Food-borne illnesses.
- Management control techniques.
Examples of the job roles it is suitable for
- Bar of Pub managers.
- Managers & supervisors.
- Chef managers.
The course will give students at understanding of
- UK and European food safety legislation to and how to comply with it.
- The concept of due diligence.
- The role and powers of enforcement officers.
- The consequences of not complying with food safety laws.
- Investigating outbreaks of food poisoning incidents.
- Microbial and allergen contaminants.
- The safe removal and disposal of contaminated food.
- The most common food-borne viruses.
- Labelling food correctly.
- The correct temperatures required to control microbial and enzyme activity in food.
- Procedures to safely transfer and move food.
- Cleaning, disinfecting, sanitising and sterilising.
- The most common food pests.
- The principles of the HACCP system.
- Relating HACCP principles to practical situations.
- Conducting hazard analysis.
- Determine critical control points (CCPs).
- Establish critical limits.
- Auditing procedures.
- Inspecting food for signs of contamination.
- Keeping staff training records.
- Communicating food safety procedures to employers and employees.
Candidates who successfully complete a multiple-choice questionnaire are awarded the Level 3 Award Certificate.
GENERAL ADVICE AND INFORMATION ABOUT FOOD HYGIENE
Food hygiene tips
- When working with food try to keep yourself clean at all times.
- Wear clean clothing.
- At work only handle any food when you actually have to.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling any food.
- If you have any nose, skin, throat, stomach or bowel trouble or infected wounds then inform your supervisor or manager before you start work.
- Always check ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates.
- Never cough or sneeze over food.
- Cover up sores and cuts with waterproof dressing.
- Cook food thoroughly.
- Keep pets away from your food.
- Do not smoke, drink or eat in a food preparation room.
- Keep worktops and utensils in a clean, tidy and organised state.
- Always follow any food safety instructions that are given on packaging.
- Avoid using your hands to mix foods when clean utensils can be used instead.
- Avoid buying dented, rusted or bulging cans. Bacteria can enter the food through the tiniest of holes or cracks.
- Cover open trays, particularly when carrying them from the vehicle into the premises.
- Keep food separate
- Always store and prepare raw food and cooked food separately. As raw food is frequently contaminated with harmful bacteria, you should keep it segregated from cooked foods at all stages of production, storage and sale. In a refrigerator cooked food should always be stored above raw food.
- If this is not possible then consider using physical divider (Perspex or stainless steel) to prevent raw food touching or falling onto cooked food.
Colour coding for cooking utensils
This is a highly effective system that can be used for effectively utilising and organising kitchen and catering equipment. They are an ideal way of making sure that different types of food are not coming in contact with each other through the use of the same utensils. If used as part of a robust HACCP program, it can make it easier for you to identify which equipment is for cooked foods and which is for raw.
Helps to prevent taste contamination
Colour coding can also stop juices from mixing with different food. So it can stop the juices of a T bone from getting into some sauce or chicken breast, and completely changing the way it should taste.
Example of a colour coding system
Use raw protein products like beef, poultry, and fish typically only on red cutting boards or knives. Then use raw vegetables go with green labelled utensils, and other food types go on white ones etc.
Other advantages of using a dedicated colour coding standard
An added bonus is that it can also be used for portion control.
in a busy and chaotic kitchen atmosphere it can save time by helping you to quickly find and store away the right utensils.
It is a quick and simple standard that new employees can quickly understand.
Kitchen utensils that can be colour coded include;
- Cutting boards
- Food labels
A popular way to improve food hygiene is to have a food safety management system that is based on HACCP principles. HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) assesses each stage in food manufacture and processing for potential food safety hazards, and then develops processes and procedures to cut out or reduce the risk of these hazards happening. Indeed since the beginning of January 2006, all United Kingdom food handling businesses must have a documented system based on HACCP principles.
If you are ill
Prevention is better than cure. If you are suffering from a cold, flu or have the symptoms of food poisoning then, for obvious reasons you should avoid preparing food for. Remember its very easy to contaminate food with viruses or germs and to spread infection to other people through food. The risk of bacteria spreading is highest when the infected person has diarrhoea and vomiting. Food handlers who have these or other symptom such as a fever, bad cough or runny nose should immediately report their condition to their immediate supervisors. This means anyone who directly touches open food or the surfaces where food is handled or stored.
Managers must exclude staff with these symptoms from working with or around open food, for up to 48 hours from when symptoms stop naturally. Management should always have a safety first attitude and assume that the reasons for a employees symptoms is probably an infection and the food handler should therefore be excluded from any food handling duties until evidence to the contrary is received.
A kitchen work surface can take some rough treatment, household chemicals, hot pans and knives can all take their toll. They should always be kept clean, dry and disinfected regularly. Given proper care and cleaning your worktop often will help keep it hygienically clean and will ensure it lasts for many years. Here are some tips on how to ensure that hygiene is maintained in any worktops;
Clean them regularly
This is the golden rule that will prevent dirt, stains and bacteria from building up over time. The most effective way to ensure this is to have this chore included in a cleaning schedule.
Always clear up before and after using the worktop
Just giving them a simple wipe with warm water and some washing up liquid, can have a huge effect on reducing bacteria levels.
Clear spilled liquids immediately
Stop these from becoming sticky, slippery and creating lasting stains by mopping them up as soon as they have been spilled.
These are very durable and versatile. If they ever become water stained or scratched, they can simply be sanded down and re-oiled to restore them to their original condition.
The advantage these have over other worktops is their low cost. They are also easy to clean, resistant to most household chemicals and easy to clean.
This is a completely natural product that is very hard wearing and difficult to scratch. Although naturally porous it is one of the least absorbent stones and by cleaning up spillages immediately will reduce permanent damage. The only thing against this worktop is its weight, it can be very heavy.
Long hair and preparing for any cooking activities
If you have long hair, then for a number of reasons its important to keep it covered and out of the way. Firstly in a kitchen environment long hair can fall in front of your eyes and stop you from seeing what you are doing. Secondly if it’s not tied back then you will be constantly pushing it back with your hands, thereby potentially getting your hands dirty every time you have to do this (remember germs and bacteria can live on human hair). Thirdly by having it properly covered you can stop it physically coming into contact with any food and also prevent it from potentially falling into any food.
All freezers should operate between -18 and -21 degree Celsius. Easy to access thermometers should be provided to enable refrigerator temperatures to be monitored. Temperature readings should be logged daily for two reasons, firstly to demonstrate compliance with the law and secondly to detect any possible refrigerator faults.
Tips on storing food in fridges
Avoid over packing refrigerator display cases, it’s more difficult to try to keep temperatures at 4°C (40°F) or less under these conditions.
Screening for displayed food
Always provide screening for food that is displayed. This is to prevent people from coughing, sneezing or touching the open food. Any such screening should be easily cleanable and regularly cleaned.
Always try to use two separate machines, one for cooked food and the other for raw food.
Tea towels and dishcloths
These should be changed on a daily basis. They should be rinsed out in diluted bleach or disinfectant and then allowed to air well.
Tongs & food wrapping
Consider using tongs when handling high risk foods such as cooked meats and food wrapping when handling larger pieces of food such as joints of meat. Whenever possible you should always avoid physically touching cooked food with your bare hands.
Using separate utensils
During food preparation it is best to use separate knives, chopping boards, work surfaces, wiping cloths and scales for cooked and raw foods.
INFORMATION ABOUT FOOD HYGIENE MATTERS
Bacteria and food
Food poisoning is usually caused by micro-organisms, most commonly bacteria (other common causes being viruses, chemicals and toxins). Bacteria themselves are tiny single cell microorganisms, usually a few micrometers in length that normally exist together in millions. There are several main types of bacteria that is responsible for most of the food poisoning and related illnesses in the UK, they are;
This is naturally found in guts of farm animals, poultry, eggs, unpasteurised milk, rats, mice, and domestic pets.
E. coli (Escherichia Coli 0157)
There are several types of E. Coli, and not all are harmful, it is only some strains that are pathogenic, usually causing symptoms of diarrhoea. The most common causes are eating undercooked meat and unpasteurised dairy products and by contact with farm animals.
Most cases are caused by direct contamination of cooked foods by dirty hands which have picked up the bacteria from nose, throat and skin lesions.
This bacteria can survive normal cooking and is usually found rice, although it is also associated with cereal products, dust and soil.
This bacteria can be found not only in contaminated food, but also in water, animals, birds and foods such as raw poultry, raw meat and unpasteurised milk.
This is one of those types of bacteria that is able to form spores, which are not destroyed by normal cooking. It is most commonly found in animal and human faeces, soil, dust, insects and raw meat.
Pregnant women, newborn babies, older people and immuno-suppressed persons are most at risk from the illness. The pathogen is typically found in unpasteurised milk products, such as soft cheeses, and meat-based pates. It is able to grow at low temperatures and may even grow very slowly at refrigeration temperatures.
Key points about bacteria
- In order for most forms of bacteria to multiply it needs a moist and warm environment.
- It is only a few species of bacteria are pathogenic and cause infectious diseases.
Environmental Health Officers
EHO’s as they are also known, enforce UK food safety laws and also offer advice on hygiene issues. It is their job to see that all staff involved in preparing, cooking and serving or handling food are trained to the appropriate standards laid out in Food Hygiene Regulations act 2006. Their role includes visiting and inspecting premises where food is prepared and sold to ensure that health & safety standards are being met. Some of these visits are routine, but others are unplanned and usually in response to complaints from the public.
Some people can suffer severe allergic reactions that are triggered by certain proteins found in food. These kinds of allergies typically occur when a persons immune system mistakenly identifies a certain food as harmful. Some of these reactions can provoke fatal or near fatal symptoms like asthma attacks, however most offending food usually triggers mild cases of itching, rashes, diarrhoea, vomiting and sometimes shock.
It should be noted that having a food allergy is different from suffering from food intolerance. These tend to have a slower onset than allergic reactions, don’t involve a individuals immune system and are generally not life threatening.
Although any food can potentially cause an allergic reaction in a person, there are eight specific types of foods that are responsible for the majority of all food allergies.
Children food allergies
In youngsters the most common allergy provoking foods include;
- Cow’s milk protein
- Egg white
- Soya beans
- Cod fish
Adult food allergies
In adults the most common allergy provoking foods include;
- Tree nuts such as; brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts.
- Seafood such as fish, mussels, crab, prawn.
These are gastrointestinal illnesses that are caused by eating contaminated food which has been infected by bacteria and viruses. Typical symptoms of illness are diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain. These can start a few hours after eating or may take several days to appear.
The vast majority of people who suffer from food poisoning will recover without the need for medical treatment. If you are have been ‘poisoned’ then its important to make sure that you do not become dehydrated and to make up for any fluids, glucose and salts that you have lost through vomiting, sweating and diarrhoea. Symptoms can be relieved by getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and only eating food that can be easily digested, such as toast, crackers, bananas and rice. At the same time you should avoid alcohol, along with spicy and fatty foods.
Information about food poisoning
- In 2010, there were almost 84,560 cases of food poisoning in England and Wales.
- The young and elderly are more vulnerable to the effects of food poisoning.
- If you feel dehydrated than apart from drinking water you can also take oral rehydration salts (although if you have a medical condition then you should check with your GP to make sure its OK for you to take them).
Key points about food poisoning
- It can spread very quickly.
- Food poisoning can only fully be confirmed by the analysis of a stool sample provided by the person involved.
- In the 1980’s and 90’s reported cases of food poisoning increased considerably in the United Kingdom.
Facts about food poisoning
Surveys have repeatedly shown that most people thing they’re unlikely to get food poisoning from eating food at home. Instead they believe that eating out is going to be the most likely cause of infections.
Food hygiene training plans
Businesses should have training plans ready to identify the training needed by all their employees. These should also include update or refresher training and be ready to take into account changes in the business, new hygiene issues or changes in the law. Accurate and up to date administrative records should be kept of all training undertaken by staff.
Below are some useful tips on buying food.
- Read the expiry dates on food and drinks, and only buy those you know you will use within the ‘best before’ dates.
- You should not buy food that needs to be kept cold, buy has been stored in unrefrigerated counters in a shop.
- It is best to only purchase pasteurized milk, rather than raw milk.
- In your grocery cart keep raw meats separate from grocery and vegetables (avoid cross contamination).
- Refrigerate perishables like fish and raw meat as soon as possible.