If you work with food, or even in an environment where food is present, then you might want to consider looking into the different types of qualifications you can achieve. The food health and safety certificate is a widely recognised qualification which will enable you to showcase your knowledge in the food industry.
All food handlers must be trained at a sufficient level according to their role, and the food health and safety courses cover the skills necessary to achieve and maintain good hygiene and safe practices, and to evidence these skills once they’ve passed.
Although obtaining a food safety certificate is not a legal requirement in the UK, food business operators must ensure that their staff receive the appropriate training in order to perform their tasks safely, for themselves as well as their customers. The food health and safety courses provide an effective way to track learning and progression, which helps to build confidence in both staff and customers.
To learn more about food safety training, and how you can work towards achieving a widely recognised qualification in the food industry, then read through the steps we have summarised below.
Choose the appropriate course
First, you must choose a course level that is appropriate to you and your job role. The first level starts with the basics, which is probably a good place to start, and then, depending on your progression in your career, you have the option to continue your learning, right up to a level where you’ll cover what’s expected of you in a supervisory/managerial role. As mentioned above, the food hygiene certificate isn’t a legal requirement, but it is required by law that anyone working in a food environment should be able to demonstrate safe food hygiene practices. This is why it is important that you choose the right course for you.
See the level options below, to understand more about what’s entailed on each course.
a. Level 1 Food Hygiene and Safety
The level 1 course is catered for people who do not handle or prepare food, but for those who work in an environment where food is present. For example, if you work on a supermarket checkout, or front of house at a bar, then this course would be appropriate for you to help you gain an understanding of your responsibilities while working in a food environment as well as the food hygiene practices you should adhere to. Successfully passing the course will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge and dedication to the industry. Plus, you’ll be able to provide evidence of this to employers once you have achieved the level 1 food hygiene certificate. Please note: If your role requires you to directly handle or prepare food, then the level 2 course would be more suitable for you.
b. Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety
This course is appropriate for anyone working in an environment where food is cooked, prepared or handled. So this would suit someone who works as a kitchen assistant, barista, or chef. In this course you will learn the best practices for storing and preparing food, the correct ways to help you maintain a good level of personal hygiene, and how to clean safely and effectively. The course will cover other vital areas that you’ll need to know to be able to pass and achieve the food hygiene level 2 certificate.
c. Level 3 Food Hygiene and Safety
The level 3 course is designed for people who work in a position where they have a higher level of responsibility within a catering environment. For example, this course would suit someone who is in a supervisory/managerial role within an establishment such as a restaurant or cafe. If you work in a position such as this, then you’ll need to be able to consistently demonstrate good hygiene practices as well as have a thorough understanding of your legal responsibilities. These are just some of the aspects that are covered in this course which will help you to achieve a food hygiene certificate level 3 and will enable you to promote safe practices within your working environment. It is worth mentioning that if you are aiming to achieve a level 5 in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, then you’ll need to have gained the level 3 certificate.
d. Level 4 Food Hygiene and Safety
The level 4 course is aimed at those who have already completed the level 3 food hygiene and safety course and are wishing to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the best food and safety practices to benefit their role as a supervisor/manager. This is a much more in-depth course, usually delivered over a few days with the material being taught via mixed methods such as through in-person training and online videos. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of food hygiene and safety within the food industry, and you’d like to demonstrate your commitment to potentially further your career, then the level 4 course could be the next step for you.
2. Allocate enough time
If you decide to enrol on one of the above food hygiene and safety courses, then you’ll need to allocate enough time to complete each level. The higher the course level, the longer it will take for you to read/study the content and, ultimately, pass the course. The level 1 course can take around 1 to 2 hours to complete, the level 2 course can take around 2 to 3 hours, and the level 3 course can take around 6 to 8 hours. The level 4 course, which cannot be delivered solely online (unlike the earlier levels) can take several days to complete.
3. Use your food certificate for your business
Upon successful completion of a course, you will be sent a certificate through the post. There should also be an option to download your certificate online if it’s either the level 1, 2, or 3 course that you’ve completed. Although there isn’t an expiry date on the certificates, we advise that you enrol on the appropriate course for you every three years. This is because the guidelines within the food industry are constantly changing and evolving, so you’ll need to ensure that you’re adapting with them. Your certificate will be printed with a recommended renewal date to serve as a reminder of when you should ideally enrol on another course.
If you work in a food environment and are seeking to deepen your knowledge to ensure you’re adhering to best practices within your role, then consider enrolling on one of the food health and safety courses. You will also likely have a greater understanding of sustainable food packaging products for your business, so you are meeting your business's environmental needs as well as your hygiene policy.
Hopefully, the brief summary of each level will have helped you to decide which course is right for you.
Are you in need of additional hygiene products for your food business? Then our hygiene products, such as our napkins and antibacterial hand wash, might be of interest to you.