Food Safety Training

Before a food handler is allowed to start work for the first time they must receive written or verbal instruction in the Essentials of Food Hygiene which provides an understanding of hygiene.  All other staff employed in the business should also receive similar instruction as a matter of good practice. Any visitors to the premises should also be instructed on those rules that relate to personal hygiene.

Whether further training is needed will depend on the actual job of the food handler and the type of food that they handle.

Definition of Food Handler - Any person who handles or prepares food whether open (unwrapped) or packaged.  Food includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and ice.

All food handlers must be properly supervised and instructed and/or formally trained to ensure that they work hygienically.  A greater degree of supervision may be needed for:

  • New, agency or temporary staff awaiting formal training.
  • Staff handling high risk foods.
  • Less experienced staff.
  • Staff who have received training or instruction to see if they have understood and are undertaking safe practices.

Managers who are responsible for maintaining a food safety management system will require adequate training to enable them to carry out this statutory requirement.

The table below is a summary for recommended training needs in food premises.  Click on the Levels to find out the course content.  Note that it is a specific legal requirement for Managers and those responsible for developing and maintaining the premises Food Safety Management System or HACCP system to receive appropriate training.

For a list of local training providers from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health that will travel to your post code see:

Click on each Training Level heading in the below table to display further information.

Training level Category of Staff Level 1 /Essentials e.g. Food Safety Awareness in Catering / Retail; Introduction into Food safety for Manufacturing Level 2 / Foundation e.g. Award in Food Safety in Catering / Retail / Manufacturing Level 3 / Intermediate e.g. Award in Food Safety Supervising in Catering / Manufacturing / Award in Award in Implementing Food Safety Management Systems / Award in HACCP for food Manufacture Level 4 / Advanced e.g. Award in Food Safety Management in Catering; Award in Food Safety Management for Manufacturing
Category A Handle low risk or wrapped food only Guide to compliance -before starting work for the first time
Category B Food handlers who prepare open 'high risk' foods. Guide to compliance -before starting work for the first time Guide to compliance- within 4 weeks; 8 weeks part-time staff
Category C Food handlers who also have a supervisory role Guide to compliance -before starting work for the first time Guide to compliance- within 4 weeks; 8 weeks part-time staff Guide to compliance- within 3 months
Category D Food handlers who also have a management role Guide to compliance -before starting work for the first time Guide to compliance- within 4 weeks; 8 weeks part-time staff Guide to compliance- within 3 months Guide to compliance - within 3 months


What does the law say?

Chapter XII of Regulation No 852/2004 states that food business operators are to ensure that:

  • food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activity;
  • those responsible for the development and maintenance of the procedure referred to in Article 5 (1) of the Regulation or for the operation of relevant guides have received adequate training in the application of the HACCP principles, and
  • there is compliance with any requirement of national law concerning training programmes for persons working in certain food sectors


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