This is the story of a man with an itch. It’s also a story about you, as a consumer (and/or food service provider to the public). Yes, we know you want information about HACCP training, and don’t worry this is definitely a blog post about HACCP management systems and HACCP training.
But before scrolling on down, consider skimming through our cautionary tale. This is the impression you give to people when you don’t implement a sound HACCP management system. ‘The Itchy Cook’ is a must read…
The Itchy Cook
You’re starving because you missed breakfast this morning. You walk into food joint, the kind with an open kitchen, possibly a bakery, or a cafe, even a pop up food cart, whatever. The scent of food wafts over you.
The man behind the counter is sweaty, grubby and grouchy, but you’re really hungry so you don’t say anything. You order. He ‘washes’ his hands in a bowl of mucky water, wipes them dry on his mucky apron and starts to prepare your food. As he’s working he slicks the sweat from his forehead, and then scratches his balding head. Again, he wipes his hands on his apron and casually touches your food with his nasty mits.
That’s disgusting. You’re wondering whether to just walk away when you see the man reach a hand under his apron and have a good old scratch. It is not entirely obvious which body part he is scratching but you are nonetheless horrified.
He doesn’t seem to notice he’s doing it. He looks quite relieved and you look, well, your mouth is at approximately floor level so, let’s just say ‘shocked’ isn’t the right word.
All done with his not so private itching, he packs up your food and hands it to you with the same hands he’s just scratched himself with.
I take it you wouldn’t eat the food? No, me neither.
Would you have an employee who acts like this in your kitchen or food handling workplace? No, of course you wouldn’t.
Is this a true story? Do you want it to be? One thing’s for sure; if this was true, the food joint would potentially be shut down, the itchy man would not have a job, and the business owner could be fined and prosecuted.
This may be an extreme example, but THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN. Really. There are food businesses out there with this level of ignorance and pure disregard for food safety standards.
So, let’s move on to HACCP.
What is HACCP? Why do you need to know about it?
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It is the most widely used food safety management system. It needs to be appropriate to your place of work and the types of food handling taking place. For example a livestock farm’s management system would be different to a food manufacturing business’. Equally, a brewer would have different food safety management considerations than a butcher.
The FSA (Food Standards Agency) has some useful guides specific to your food handling premises. Check them out here. If you want in depth support with creating and implementing a HACCP management system, click here.
Why do you need a HACCP management system? Put simply, so you can make sure that everyone handling food in your business is competent, trained and well managed. If done right having a thorough and actively implemented HACCP Management system will ensure that all aspects of food safety are considered, which benefits you in the following ways:
• You will have an audit trail to cover you should any civil claims or food poisoning investigations be taken out against you.
• You will rate higher when your local authority undertakes their inspection of your premises. That means longer gaps between inspections and less chance of fines and imprisonment. High food hygiene ratings mean increased reputation and more business.
• You will be organised. Time keeping, monitoring, supervising. If well managed you’re less likely to let things slip.
You want to know how you can get yourself or an employee some good quality HACCP training, right? You want them to be able to ace food safety in your business, right?
Well, that takes us on to:
HACCP training courses
We recommend the following courses by awarding body Qualsafe Awards:
• QA Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing (RQF) 3 day course aimed at those who need an in-depth understanding of the HACCP Management System. Although it is tailored to manufacturing, anyone who needs knowledge about HACCP can benefit.
• QA Level 2 Award in Food Safety 1 day course providing an overview of food safety for those needing an introduction to good food handling practices. There are many variants of this course aimed at different types of food service providers.
• QA Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety 3 day course aimed at those in a supervisory role who need to know about food safety management procedures and how to implement them. Again, this course has many variants depending on type of food service provider.
For more detailed information on these courses visit our training page. We (ADL Associates) are also approved by CIEH to provide their equivalent courses.
We are proud of our trainers. They do a great job of putting into simple, identifiable terms a complex subject which requires a deep level of understanding and strategic knowledge. Check out Anjii’s tips below. She’s got some interesting advice; in fact it was one of her anecdotes that inspired the above cautionary tale.
To DIY or not to DIY? Is getting HACCP training really worth it?
A strange thing for a training provider to ask, right?
Well, we’re also a safety and environmental consultancy, so we see the effects of people trying to manage food safety themselves a lot.
Some do well. Some don’t. It depends on your situation: how much you have in the way of resources, how effective your supervisors are at managing their own time and others’, and their leadership skills.
If you are intent on booking someone onto a HACCP training course so they can create and implement your food safety management system, great. If you’re on the bench, however, consider that for a similar cost (once you take into account loss of production due to trainee absence, potential temporary employee costs, travel costs, accommodation if required, and the cost of the course itself), you could pay a similar amount to get in a professional. Consultancy is not as expensive as you might think when you look at it comparatively.
If you’re on the bench, we recommend you get a gap analysis carried out to see where you stand with your existing food safety management provisions. It’s basically an informal audit that can tell you what you’re doing right and what you can do to improve. It can also give you an idea of where you’re likely to score when inspected by your wonderful local authority. It takes a day. That’s all.
Book your gap analysis today.
Request Your Gap Analysis Today
As mentioned above, Anjii is one of our trainers. She’s full of warmth and interesting tales. I asked her if she had any nuggets of wisdom to pass on to readers about food safety management. Here’s what she said:
“Under favourable conditions, some bacteria multiply at a rate of every 10 to 20 minutes, and therefore risk of potential food poisoning is greatly increased. Monitoring and recording temperatures of cooked and stored foods provide assurance that control points have been effectively managed and opportunity for food poisoning to occur is minimised. Doing your due diligence is really important, keep checklists for everything. Also, make sure you label stored food properly, with expiry (or shelf life) dates.”
If this quirky food safety post speaks to you, consider subscribing to our blog for updates with useful safety info told in interesting ways. Mostly interesting, this is occupational safety we’re talking about!