RAI Training

Level 2 Food Hygiene Training

Anyone responsible for running a food business must ensure that adequate provision and procedures are put into place to ensure that all employees are aware of the potential food safety risks that may arise. The theory is that increasing the knowledge and skills individuals have regarding potential food safety hazards can greatly reduce risk and protect and public health. Which is eminently sensible.

So why don’t people do it? People think getting kitchen staff handling high-risk ‘open’ food through Level 2 means time and expense; often day release, staff out of the business, costs. If Chef delivers the training it means precious time sacrificed for everyone involved. But you no longer need to send the whole brigade off on day release: they can do a proper, accredited course in a couple of hours for a few quid. And on their own time.

Is it compulsory? Strictly speaking, no – see below – but you need to prove food handlers have been trained. The easiest way to do that is Level 2. Many EHOs want to see it despite it not being mandatory (I explain that below) and could still insist on it under HACCP or make life very difficult. At the very least the EHO will ask for proof that staff have been trained. The easiest way to do this is for staff to get the certificate.

Qualification Expiry

One myth is that staff need to re-take their food hygiene exam every three years. This is not true. Once passed the exam does not run out; it’s like other accredited exams where once passed you stay passed.

[important]Getting the Qualification[/important]

Do It Yourself?

The training content and methods need to reflect the nature of the potential food safety hazards in a specific business and so depend to a degree on the type of food preparation being undertaken. But even the most basic training for food serving staff means (usually) Chef needs to spend time training the people. Either that or a Level 1 course (which is really basic).

Make It Easy…

You can get the qualification online via an easy, video-based course. You get a proper, accredited certificate that doesn’t expire. And you don’t need to do it all in one hit; you can come back to each module separately. There is a fast track ‘I know my stuff, take me to the questions’ option but the full video course only takes a couple of hours. And it’s broken into modules.

[important]The Legal Position[/important]

Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs, Chapter XII Annex II states the following:


Food business operators are to ensure:

1. That food handlers are supervised and instructed and / or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activity;

2. That those responsible for the development and maintenance of the procedure referred to in Article 5(1) of this regulation or for the operation of relevant guides have received adequate training in the application of the HACCP principles.

In this context a ‘food handler’ is anyone who handles foodstuffs as part of their job and includes wrapped or open (un-wrapped) foods. ‘Supervisors’ are individuals at either a team leader, shift manager or management level who hold responsibility for ensuring that employees comply with the food safety management procedures implemented within the Food Business Operator (FBO).

The regulation was designed to require that FBOs implement training activities that are appropriate to the needs of the business operation. This means that the FBO owner/proprietor is required to evaluate the risks associated with the different job functions in the business and provide food safety training which is relevant to those jobs.

So, FBOs must ensure that all food handlers receive instruction and / or training in food safety appropriate to their specific work duties. This applies to all staff no matter their contractual status within the organisation and includes part time, temporary and staff provided via agencies. Any training or instruction provided should ensure that food handlers have sufficient knowledge and competence to handle food safely. In addition, all food handlers must be supervised to an appropriate level. The decision regarding what constitutes appropriate training ‘commensurate to [the] work activity’ will be greatly influenced by both the individual staff member’s job role and the nature of foodstuffs dealt with in the FBO.

So, there is no legal requirement for staff to attend formal training courses or obtain a qualification and the appropriate knowledge and competencies can be obtained in a number of ways, including on the job training, self-study through expertly produced guidance materials, attendance on formal training courses or prior experience BUT…

While the law does not demand all employees go through standardised, classroom based training programmes, EHOs will want to see evidence that food handlers have been properly trained.

The easiest way for FBOs to satisfy this requirement is to show the appropriate level of food hygiene certificate.

If the FBO cannot prove via the relevant staff passing the formal qualification an EHO is likely to ask some very searching questions looking to catch them out.

Many LAs stipulate that – for example – staff handling food are required to have Level 2 within three months of starting in a job handling food.

Management Training

The FBO must ensure that those within the business responsible for developing and maintaining food safety management procedures, (e.g. HACCP based procedures) are appropriately trained. Managers and supervisors should receive a more advanced level of training which builds on the subject matter targeted at staff, but also highlighting the specific responsibilities associated with supervising and managing a safe food manufacturing operation.

[important]Best Practice[/important]

National Occupational Standards (NOS) should be used to define the range of skills and knowledge associated with different job roles. NOS are statements of ‘competency’ developed to reflect the relevant skills and knowledge associated with specific job tasks. There are a series of NOS standards developed by ‘Improve’, the Sector Skills Council for the food and drink manufacturing industry to reflect the food safety specific skills and knowledge required by workers in the food and drink industry.

The NOS developed for the food and drink industry are as follows:

Level 1 – Operative Roles

Maintain personal hygiene standards in food manufacture and awareness of food safety in food and drink:

  • Keep him / herself clean and hygienic
  • Keep the work area clean and hygienic
  • Keep the product safe

Relevant to food handlers at all levels and may also be applicable to regular contractors, and agency staff.

Level 2 – Operative Roles

Maintain workplace food safety standards in manufacture and understand the principles of workplace food safety in food and drink:

  • Take personal responsibility for food safety
  • Keep him / herself clean and hygienic
  • Keep the work area clean and hygienic
  • Keep the product safe

Relevant to all operative roles that deal directly with food stuffs and may also be applicable to longer term agency staff.

Level 3 – Supervisory and Technical Roles

Raise food safety awareness, monitor food safety at critical control points, contribute improvement of food safety, control and monitor safe supply of raw materials and ingredients. 

  • Ensure compliance with legislation
  • Apply and monitor good food safety practices
  • Implement food safety management procedures
  • Contribute to staff training
  • Food safety auditing

Safe procurement and supply in food and drink manufacturing:

  • Implement and maintain procurement procedures
  • Schedule supply
  • Implement and maintain product traceability
  • Implement and maintain and audit trail
  • Receive goods

Level 4 – Management

Allocate roles and responsibilities for food safety management, implement controls to manage safe food sources and products, assess operation for effectiveness and compliance with food safety standards, report on compliance with food safety requirements.

Also involves developing policy and guidelines to manage food safety, working practices and procedures, monitoring, provision of food safety training to staff and managing continuous improvement.