15th June sees the start of Food Safety Week, an annual event held to promote the importance of good food hygiene, run by the Food Standards Agency. As 70,000 people are hit by food poisoning each year in the UK (see more), food safety remains crucial for everyone, whether working in a food business, eating out or consuming food at home.
Training is important for all those involved in food operations. For managers, supervisors and food handlers the requirements may be different but everyone needs to be aware of their roles and responsibilities in protecting food from contamination or deterioration. Ultimately, the training of those behind the scenes will enable a safe environment for customers and a good reputation. In response to this, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) offers a range of quality controlled, accredited food safety qualifications, based on international standards, for managers, supervisors and food handlers.
One such business which has already benefitted from CIEH qualifications is Walney School in Cumbria, where the school menu and kitchen has been transformed with military precision to meet new government guidelines. The school’s catering team, led by Sarah Cain, recently spent a day of their half-term holiday feeling the heat in the kitchens of Catterick Garrison, the UK Army’s largest base. The team of eight are all trained in the CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Safety, and Sarah is qualified to deliver the awards herself.
Sarah commented, “I often hear about businesses which don’t have good practices, but I’ve found that ensuring that food preparation is done correctly makes the job so much easier. Not only does it have an impact on general professionalism and reputation, but I’ve also noticed an improvement to staff confidence and to morale, which improves the working environment.”