Food hygiene training
The Food Safety Act 1990 requires that ‘food handlers' (i.e. those who are involved in food preparation in any form more sophisticated than the making of tea/coffee and the provision of biscuits) "should be trained, instructed and supervised in food hygiene according to the work that they do". The regulations lay down no specific form of training, but obviously those who handle food will be expected to observe good personal hygiene, to wash their hands when handling food and never to smoke in food handling areas.
It is strongly recommended that Congregations arrange for structured training for volunteers and that they be encouraged to undertake the training offered to ensure that, as a minimum, there is at least one holder of an elementary Food Hygiene Certificate present when food in any form (beyond tea/coffee and biscuits) is being prepared on Church premises by members of the Congregation. It is also recommended that each Congregation appoints a Food Safety Co-ordinator with the appropriate level of training.
Where can I attend a Food Hygiene Course?
There are a number of ways to undertake the appropriate training. The course can be run by any provider approved by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland. The website provides a useful list of all the training centres in Scotland, which can be searched by area and details of the courses available at each venue.
Some Presbyteries have organised food safety training. It is worth checking with the Presbytery Clerk whether anything is planned in your area.
The Environmental Health Department of your local council will also be able to provide details of accredited courses.
Local Colleges, particularly those running courses on domestic science, can often provide food hygiene training.
Public and private training companies also provide food hygiene training, and your local council may have more information about what is available in your area.
How long does the Food Hygiene Certificate last?
There is no time limit for the life of a certificate and no requirement for refresher food hygiene training. However, most authorities recommend that all food handlers update their training every three years. This will be particularly important if there have been any changes in food safety legislation or food handling practice.