Food Hygiene Certificate - Course Syllabus

1. Introduction to Food Safety

Candidates should understand the terminology used in food safety and should be able to:

  • Define the terms food safety, food poisoning, foodborne illness, contamination, hazard & HACCP
  • State the consequences of poor standards of food hygiene and the benefits of good standards
  • Explain the use of a documented Food Safety Management System
  • Understand the relationship between hazard and risk and how this can help prioritise action
  • Describe the symptoms of food poisoning
  • Give examples of those people most at risk

2. The Law

Candidates should understand the laws that apply to food businesses & food handlers, and should be able to describe, in general terms, the requirements of the current regulations and:

  • Understand the role of enforcement officers, and the powers that local authorities have to control the sale of unfit, sub-standard or injurious food
  • State the possible consequences of non-compliance with food safety law
  • Understand the importance of training, training records and refresher training
  • Describe legal requirements in relation to food handler training.
  • Describe the importance of accurate record-keeping to a food business
  • Explain the concept of ‘due diligence’
  • Describe the legal requirement to handle food safely

3. Food Safety Hazards

Candidates should understand the concept of food hazards, how the risk of food poisoning can be contained and be able to:

  • Give examples of common food contaminants
  • State common causes of physical and chemical contamination and their effect on health
  • State the biological and non-biological causes of food poisoning
  • State what micro-organisms are and where they are to be found
  • State the difference between pathogenic and spoilage bacteria
  • State the factors that influence the multiplication of food poisoning bacteria
  • Explain the process by which bacteria reproduce and the timescale of that process
  • Identify the importance of spore formation in relation to the cooking, cooling and the re-heating of foods
  • Explain the significance of bacterial toxins. Name some common food poisoning bacteria and their likely sources
  • Give examples of food-borne diseases and common viruses
  • In general terms, state the risks associated with food being handled by carriers or victims of food poisoning or food-borne illness
  • Identify the concept of the ‘danger zone’
  • State the high and low temperatures required to minimise bacterial multiplication
  • Define and give examples of high-risk foods
  • Explain the concepts of ‘contamination’ and ‘cross-contamination’
  • Understand the term ‘cross-contamination’ and how to prevent it
  • Understand the reasons for the separation of raw and ready-to-eat foods in storage
  • Understand reporting and remedial procedures

4. Taking Temperatures

Candidates should understand how to take product and equipment temperatures and should be able to:

  • Explain how probe thermometers should be calibrated, used, cleaned and disinfected
  • Describe methods of checking and recording refrigerator temperatures

5. Refrigeration, Chilling & Cold Holding of Foods

Candidates should understand how a reduction in storage temperature will minimise bacterial multiplication and should be able to:

  • Describe the temperatures at which chilled food must be stored
  • Describe safe methods of rapid chilling of cooked food
  • Understand freezing and the safe storage of frozen foods
  • Describe safe methods of defrosting frozen foods

6. Cooking, Hot Holding and Re-Heating of Foods

Candidates should understand the importance of high temperatures in the supply of safe food and, in particular, be able to:

  • State the temperatures required to destroy harmful bacteria or to minimise their multiplication

Explain the risks associated with:

  • under-cooking of foods
  • re-heating food
  • holding food hot
  • Describe methods of monitoring cooking and holding temperature                
  • Explain the importance of rapid and thorough re-heating of food
  • Describe the temperatures at which hot food must be stored

7. Food Handlers

Candidates should understand that food handlers can impose a risk to food safety and be able to:

  • Understand the importance of personal hygiene in food handling
  • Detail the need for, and suitable methods of, hand washing
  • Describe the importance and properties of protective clothing

8. Principles of Safe Food Storage

Candidates should understand the importance of utilising appropriate storage conditions for different types of food and should be able to:

  • State the main ways in which food is preserved and how preserved foods should be stored
  • Understand the significance and importance of ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ dates on foods
  • Understand the principles of stock rotation
  • Identify the appropriate storage conditions for frozen, chilled and ambient foods
  • Understand procedures required for dealing with foods that may cause allergic reactions
  • Explain the importance of correct handling, preparation, cooling and processing of food

9. Cleaning

Candidates should understand the importance of cleaning in food premises and should be able to:

  • Describe acceptable methods of storing and disposing of waste from food premises
  • Understand the role of cleaning in preventing food contamination
  • Describe the washing facilities that should be provided for food and equipment
  • Explain the terms ‘cleaning’, ‘disinfection’ and ‘sterilisation’
  • Describe how cleaning chemicals, disinfectants and sanitisers are used safely
  • Describe how clean and suitable cloths should be used for different tasks
  • Understand the significance of cleaning schedules
  • Describe the effective cleaning of food storage areas and chillers

10. Food Premises & Equipment

Candidates should recognise the need for high standards for structure and equipment to promote good hygiene in food premises and should be able to:

  • Explain the importance of food premises being suitably constructed, fitted out and equipped and the hazards associated with faulty surfaces and equipment
  • Identify the essential first aid equipment required for food premises
  • Understand the legal requirements in relation to the construction and cleanliness of the premises and equipment
  • Understand the legal requirements in relation to the hygiene facilities to be provided in food premises
  • Define the term ‘food pest’ and describe the conditions in which pests thrive
  • Name the different types of common food pests
  • List the signs of a pest infestation, how they can be prevented and what actions should be taken in the event of an infestation being discovered

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