Interesting news here in Wales this week, where the 2005 E Coli outbreak and subsequent mandatory FRHS score display have led - I think - to a wider public interest in food safety. A number of individual outlets from large chains including Costa, KFC and Harvester have received poor Food Hygiene Rating Scheme scores in recent inspections.
Read the story here: Food Giants' Low Food Rating in Wales
These are all large chain outlets who have detailed and robust food safety management systems in place. Haven't they?
Presumably it was the on-site management of these outlets that let them down, or perhaps the lack of understanding of the importance of following agreed procedures.
It really underlines the importance of management and supervisory training, yet so many food businesses still just send ALL staff on a Level 2 course and leave it at that. Level 4 Food Safety Management courses are very interesting but can be time consuming and expensive, and quite technical. I'm very rarely asked for them, and it's usually by people who want to qualify to deliver accredited Level 1 and 2 courses in-house for their employers.
The Level 3 courses in Supervising Food Safety are much more accessible for small businesses and chains, with an emphasis on understanding and interpreting the business's food safety systems and policies in a way that makes them easy for staff to follow effectively. Supervisors and managers are the vital link between policy and practice,
On the other hand, if a caterer or manufacturer doesn't HAVE a large team some of the content might not be particularly relevant, so I'd always recommend a good chat with your training provider first to see if it's really for you. I hate to see people wasting money on training that isn't going to benefit them, or their business (please don't tell my bank manager I said that!)
But going back to the news story, I'd love to know how many of the people responsible for those outlets had any training in management or supervision, either in food safety or in general. Would it have made a difference? Should training providers and environmental health practitioners be pushing the Level 3 courses more, particularly within large and complex businesses like these?
What do you think?
(Photo credit: Garry Knight via Flickr Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight)
I've been working in hospitality and training one way or another for over 25 years. I love helping small hospitality businesses to develop. Follow me and my continuing training adventures here...