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Frequently asked questions

Do individual staff in a food store that cooks and sells pies need a food hygiene certificate?

The legal requirement is that food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activity.

However, there is no specific legal requirement to attend a formal training course or obtain a qualification in food hygiene.

The necessary food hygiene knowledge and skills may be obtained in other ways, such as through on-the-job training, self-study, relevant prior experience; or though the correct application of a food safety management system

The balance between the amount of supervision and instruction and / or training required for individual food handlers can only be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Whatever method or methods are used to obtain the relevant knowledge and skills, compliance can only be realistically assessed by looking at the role of each individual in relation to the Food Safety Management arrangements and implementation in the business concerned.

During a visit, an Environmental Health Officer will assess compliance with the legal requirements through a combination of:

  • Questioning the Food Business Operator 
  • Questioning the food handlers
  • Generally assessing the general conditions and practices witnessed within the operation.

All food handlers working with high risk foods should have a basic understanding of:

  • personal hygiene
  • cleaning and sanitising of equipment
  • cross contamination risks and controls
    correct temperature control (chilling and cooking temperatures)

Attendance on a formal food hygiene training course is an effective way in which to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills, and can assist in demonstrating compliance with legal requirements.

It is recommended that all food handlers who work with open high risk foods undertake relevant food hygiene training equivalent to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Level 2 Food Hygiene Training, or the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene (Level 2). It is also recommended that refresher training is undertaken every 3 years.

For further advice on food hygiene training please contact the Health Protection Section on (01933) 231972.


Last updated 01/03/2010