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Our aim is to provide you with all the information you need to decide which food hygiene course is best for you. You should make your decision based on facts, so we've listed the most often asked questions and given you fair, reasonable and honest explanations. Have a look at other provider’s websites and make up your own mind about whether they offer balanced explanations. We hope you will buy one of our courses, but if not, then we will have given you an insight into this complex, but important area of food safety.

Frequently asked questions

Click on any question to be taken to the answers below.

Q1. Do I need training to work with food?

Yes you do so that you comply with current legislation.

The law states that you must undertake training that is relevant to your role:

  • Food handlers must receive appropriate supervision, and be instructed and/or trained in food hygiene, to enable them to handle food safely.
  • There is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course or get a qualification, although many businesses may want their staff to do so.
  • The necessary skills may also be obtained in other ways, such as through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience.
  • The operator of the food business is responsible for ensuring this happens.


Q2. Does the training have to be an accredited Level 2 course?

Your training does not have to be accredited. We think it's important to give you honest answers!

An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) is more interested in the following:

  • you have received relevant training
  • the training complies with current laws
  • you understand the reasons behind food safety
  • you apply food safety practices and methods in your workplace.

An EHO’s role is primarily to ensure that you are preparing, cooking or serving food to the general public in a safe manner and it will not harm anyone. Your training may be in-house, a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course or fully Accredited. The important point is that you receive training, understand it and put it into practice.


Q3. Why should I take an accredited training course?

Most businesses find that using an external training provider is the better route because it usually takes less time, it's cheaper and offers a higher degree of security.

All training providers are duty bound to provide training that is relevant, appropriate and meaningful to the industry. Usually, the higher the level of accreditation that training providers offer means that they have undertaken rigorous checks and are externally audited to make sure that what they are teaching is correct. Training providers see their role as important in helping to promote food safety.

Within the food industry, most people view a Level 2 Certificate as the required benchmark because it shows that you have taken a test, passed it and can demonstrate your understanding of food hygiene and food safety.

Yes, we do sell Level 2 courses, and we have a vested interest in saying this, but we genuinely consider that this should be the recommended level of qualification.

All training providers keep up to date with current laws and change their course content whenever it is necessary.

Training providers usually offer documented evidence for a learner giving the date the exam was passed, the percentage mark etc. Always check to make sure that your chosen provider can do this.

If you organise internal un-accredited training, you will need to spend time checking through current legislation and making sure that your course content is correct. It can be better to leave this to a training provider.

As additional learning updates are required, we email all our existing and previous learners when anything changes or we feel they need to update certain methods or practices. Please check to make sure your chosen provider can do this.

Still unsure?
Most people in the industry opt for a Level 2 course with an accredited certificate. It is the benchmark that people accept and guarantees that you have received the most up to date training.

But don’t take our word for it. Since our course launched over 100,000 caterers have taken one of our Level 2 Food Safety courses and completed it successfully.
Click here to see our independent 5 star reviews rating.


Q4. Does a food handling course have to be accredited by
               The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)

Absolutely not!

CIEH is just one of many UK Awarding Bodies licensed to award qualifications in this sector. Others include RSPH, EDI, Qualifi, and City & Guilds.

All these organisations meet the required standards for accrediting courses so a course does not need to be CIEH accredited. The course content is basically the same, although chapter headings and the order of the chapters may vary. All courses include cooking temperatures, fridge/freezer temperatures, bacterial multiplication, cleaning and pest control because these items must be in-line with current Government guidelines.

Most training providers used to say that their course matched or followed the CIEH syllabus probably because the Institute is well-known. However, CIEH is insisting that providers remove any mention of them. We believe this is a shame and will lead to confusion in the industry, but we are complying with their request.


Q5. Is the Safer Food Hander course CIEH Accredited?

No, it is not.

The reason for this is down to the cost of the CIEH test/certificate and the fact that we wanted to create our own course and achieve accredited status.
We use Qualifi which is a nationally recognised accrediting body, regulated by Ofqual. Working with Qualifi means that we are able to offer permanently low prices.
We are committed to driving down the cost of learning to encourage more people to undertake training.
If we were to sell the CIEH course instead of our own course, we would have to more than double the cost of training and we flatly refuse to do this. We were offered CIEH's on-line system but refused it because of the cost.


Q6. Will an EHO accept my Level 2 food hygiene certificate?


Our training course meets the required standards recognised by an EHO, but you will have to demonstrate proof of learning and that you are implementing this knowledge into your everyday role.
Environmental Health Officers MUST remain impartial. They cannot favour one training company or product over another. This is worth knowing if an EHO queries your choice of provider.

Our course meets nationally recognised standards that an EHO must recognise because of the steps we have taken to satisfy Qualifi, our accrediting body.
The role of an EHO is to ensure that you are preparing, cooking or serving food to the general public in a safe manner and it will not cause injury to a person.


Q7. Which certificate do I need?

This depends on which sector you work in: catering, retail or manufacturing.

Catering (Food Hygiene Certificate)
Choose this course if you work in:

  • Childcare sector
  • Pubs or hotels
  • Restaurants or cafes
  • Contract catering
  • Fast-food outlets
  • Hospitals or care homes
  • Mobile food outlets
  • Schools, colleges and universities

Retail (Food Hygiene Certificate)
Choose this course if you work in:
Supermarkets and convenience stores where food is pre-packed and you do not physically touch the food.

Manufacturing (Food Hygiene Certificate)
Choose this course if you work in:
Large food or drink manufacturing environments that include metal detection and/or moving production lines.

If you are working for a small manufacturer which does not use these processes, then EHO guidance is to choose the Catering version.


Q8. Do the courses have ‘use-by’ dates?

If you register and pay for a course yourself you will have 30 days access to complete the course training material and the test. It may be useful to know that most applicants complete the course within 1-2 days.

If you buy multiple courses, or a bundle for you and your staff, the 30 days starts when each member of staff registers a course code. This means that you can buy as many course codes as you like and use them as and when needed. When you have gained a pass in the exam, the course access ends, leaving you to download your pass certificate at anytime; just log back in. When it comes to your training requirements we want you to have as much flexibility as possible.


Q9. Is Level 2 a Basic Food Hygiene certificate?


It was re-named Food Safety for Catering/Retail/Manufacturing when certain food practices and regulations changed. If you have an old Basic Food Hygiene Certificate and are looking to update your training and certification, you'll find it is the same Level 2 course.
If you already have a Basic Food Hygiene Certificate then it may be a good time to renew your training. It is recommended that you should renew your training every three years.


Q10. Is the Level 2 food hygiene certificate printed and posted to me?

No, we do not print and post certificates.

You will be able to download your certificate as a PDF document when you pass the test so that you can save it and print it when you need to. The certificate is held on the system and you can log back in and download at any time so you never have to worry about your certificate being lost or mislaid.
By printing the certificate yourself we are able to maintain our unique low price point.
This is entirely in accordance with the accreditation guidelines and will be accepted by your EHO.


Q11. If I pay more money, do I get better training?

Not necessarily.

We pioneered the low cost model which combines low purchase price with a high quality video learning experience.
A comment made to us on a regular basis is:
“because of the price, I thought I would get an inferior product and actually, it’s very good"
We like to think this is a compliment! See independent 5 star reviews of our course here.

Before buying a course, look for the quality of the content, (most will have a demo chapter), what the course covers and its level of accreditation.
We strongly suggest you compare all the main training providers and check out the following:

  • What is the cost?
  • What is the demo like?
  • What is their level of accreditation?
  • What level of support is given while you are learning?


Q12. Which is better, face to face or on-line?

It depends on you and the organisation you work for.

As a training provider we offer both face to face and on-line tuition.
However, we believe that on-line is the better choice for the following reasons:

  • Face to face is more expensive because there's the cost of the trainer and the room hire.
  • On-line courses at £10.50 could mean that an organisation is able to train all their staff for about the same cost of sending one person on a face to face course.
  • On-line courses offer flexibility because a learner may choose when they want to study. This could be in the evening, at the weekend, or when there is a slow day at work. The students make their own decision.
  • A learner may study in one go or, for example, in 30 minute bite sized chunks. They are not tied to an exact date which would be the case for a face to face course.
  • Providing students have internet access, they can study from anywhere in the world, at any time.

Business Benefits of On-Line Training

From a business perspective the advantages of on-line training are:

  • There is no need to arrange day long classroom training which is usually more expensive and has the extra hidden cost of additional staff cover for those attending a course.
  • Many businesses let staff come in a few hours later or go home earlier so they can spend time studying at quiet times in the day. Again, the flexibility allows you to decide when and where the tuition takes place.
  • Most on-line systems will also allow you some type of back-end monitoring. Ask your chosen provider what they can offer.
  • As a company, we have received a lot of positive feedback about our back end system.
  • Larger companies are able to track learners at different sites across the country.
  • One of our customers with over 7000 outlets had a paper based manual system and found that it was practically impossible to keep track on their staff and compliance levels. Now all their information is stored in their own dedicated on-line area.
  • Our system allows you to monitor an individual’s progress, time they have spent on the course, their percentage pass mark, which questions they answered incorrectly and the number of attempts at the test.
    It will also identify a learner who may be struggling and has repeatedly attempted the test but is still failing. At this stage we will usually contact the learner to see what help may be required. In some cases, (under 1%) a learner may benefit from face to face training and we will always suggest this when relevant.
  • You can also assign codes yourself and store a copy of everyone's certificate. It’s a great system and many of our customers use it extensively to monitor compliance within their businesses.


Q13. Why should I buy your Level 2 food hygiene course?

As a company our mission has always been to deliver the highest quality accredited training at the lowest possible cost. This is the main reason why we have been extremely successful in developing strong relationships within the major food service groups.

At Safer Food Handler we:

  • Offer a fully accredited Award at the highest level backed up with a quality product that has received many plaudits for its quality and design.
  • Genuinely believe that we have the best quality on-line product on the market at the lowest price with the best management monitoring tools.
  • Are committed to permanently maintaining a low price position, and will continue to do so.

“Simply stunning value, 80% less than the price of our previous supplier, well done”
Gary Wilson (Director) Campbell Wilson Ltd - Specialist TV & Film Location Catering

“Many thanks, your online food hygiene course is brilliant, I will definitely be recommending it to my registered childminder colleagues who all have to renew this”
Susan Smith - Sue's Childminding