The Basics of Food Safety Accredited Training

Written by Assure Cloud - AssureCloud Team
27 May 2022

As a business in the food value chain, food safety training is a must for the success and endurance of
your organisation.

Food safety is critical to ensuring consumer safety and trust. This is why proper training in food
handling is crucial for enterprises working in the food preparation, processing, production and
packaging sectors. AssureCloud, a national supplier of food safety training, offers training to food
processors, retailers, restaurants, caterers plus various organisations involved in the food supply
chain. If your company is within any of these categories, you have a legal obligation to:

  • Implement a food safety management system
  •  Ensure that all members of staff attend appropriate food hygiene courses
  • Maintain adequate food hygiene standards

We offer various training courses (accredited and non-accredited) food safety and hygiene training
courses on different levels to cater for different occupations in the food industry.

Food safety legislation and regulations require businesses to provide food handlers with an
understanding of food safety. This enables them to minimise contamination when handling food
products and helps their establishment uphold a suitable safety system. An effective way to
communicate this information is through food hygiene training, which teaches food handlers how to
apply proper handling, storage, and cleaning techniques.

It is vital to train food handlers on hygiene because food safety is compromised when hygiene is
neglected. There are multiple benefits of training food handlers on basic food safety and hygiene.

It is not as simple as attending a quick course. There are various points of information you need to
be aware of. Food business operators are required by legislation, regulations and International Food
Management Systems Standard requirements to ensure their employees receive the appropriate
instruction in food handling, and whoever is responsible for maintaining business food safety
measures must have had the correct kind of training.

This means that senior members of staff – including middle and senior management, food hygiene
supervisors and chefs – should undertake the correct food safety training to ensure they relay the
right training onto all their staff who handle food.

Understanding food safety training

In South Africa, the food and drink industry is subject to various standards and regulations to ensure
quality and safety of consumable products. One such regulation is that a business must have
necessary food safety training.

There are various courses available on the market, and they vary depending on specific needs of
business. For example, you can do a course on basic food safety, which is targeted to general food
manufacturing employees. It teaches good manufacturing processes and food contamination. Then
you get more complex courses like HACCP, Food Defence and Food Fraud, ISO 22000:2018, FSSC
22000 vs 5.1 from Awareness Training to Lead Auditor Training, which is targeted to management
and quality control staff.

The training courses that you need will depend on the type of business and employees that you
have. It is your responsibility to ensure that the necessary courses are implemented within your
business.

Something important to note here is that you can acquire both accredited and non-accredited
training. What makes training accredited is that the training provider that facilitates your training is
accredited by FoodBev SETA and has the necessary accreditation. If the training facilities do not
have papers indicating that they are accredited, then you are receiving non-accredited training.
While this can still be useful knowledge, it provides less assurance than accredited training.

Choosing the right training provider

When approaching a service provider (or training facility, in this instance), you must ensure that they
have credibility in the market, and long-standing relationships with food manufacturers, retailers,
distributors, and anyone else who has a hand in the food supply chain. One way to ensure that they
are credible is to find out whether they are accredited.

Questions about your training programme should include:

1. What is the kind of food premises?
The training provided must adequately address the risks posed by the product and the processes of
the food business. It is very important that the training course you attend equips you with the
relevant knowledge for your environment. Examples used should be in your context.

2. What is your current level of knowledge?
The level of the information you are trained on is critical as the intention of this legal requirement is
surely to ensure you are adequately qualified. So, what should the level be? If you have a current
qualification, is this qualification related to food and food handling? If you are a food technologist,
do you NEED to be trained? According to the regulation, it is your personal responsibility to be
suitably qualified – can you defend your current level of knowledge and skill about FOOD SAFETY?

3. When were you trained?
If you have a qualification – when did you obtain this? Your current knowledge is very important, but
refresher training is always a good idea. You should consider this if your training is more than 5 years
old.

4. What is the level of training offered?
As there is no definition of “accreditation” within the regulation, there are several options being
offered. You should consider these and select the most appropriate for YOUR needs given that this is
your personal legal responsibility. Food and Beverage SETA accredited training is an option but what
is the intended level of this training? As a person in charge, someone with managerial
responsibilities and the criminal liability for non-compliance, you need to ensure you are adequately
equipped with the correct level of information by a suitable technical expert.

5. What is the level of the trainer?

It is important that the training provides value to the person in charge. The trainer is a critical part of
this process and you should ask questions about this person’s experience and qualifications.
Because the law is unclear about what accreditation means, it is critical that you select a reputable
provider. “Accredited” means officially recognised or authorised according to the dictionary. In the
context of auditing or testing which is often how we use it, accredited means certified competent to
perform the service.

Are you getting the right “accredited” training to meet the requirements of R638?
R638, REGULATIONS GOVERNING GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE
TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, a regulation under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS
AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, (ACT NO. 54 OF 1972) requires the person in charge to be suitably
qualified or otherwise adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene,
as appropriate, and that the training is accredited or conducted by an inspector, where applicable.

Food safety is important for both your business and the general public. To ensure that you’re
implementing all the necessary practices, you need to acquire food safety accredited training.
Contact AssureCloud to get your learning started.

Realted case studies and articles