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Last updated: 27.07.17

How long does a food handler certificate last?

Who needs a food hygiene certificate?

If you have a job that requires you to handle food on a frequent basis, whether you’re self-employed or employed in food catering, food retail or food manufacturing, you will be required by law to have a certain level of training.

To prepare or sell food, food handlers are not required to have a food hygiene certificate but it is best industry practice to do so as it shows a high standard of cleanliness. In addition to this, customers are more likely to eat or consume food from a supplier that has a food handler certificate.

What is a food hygiene certificate?

Food hygiene certificates can be attained through training within the workplace, online e-learning in your own time or through relevant prior experience.

Training providers like Virtual College offer food handlers e-learning courses that will ensure they are trained to the highest standard.

Formerly known as the Foundation or Basic Food Hygiene, the Level 2 Food Safety & Hygiene for Catering course is aimed at professionals working with food, or the management of food professionals and can be used at the induction phase, as awareness, as a refresher course or as foundation training.

This course, accredited by City & Guilds, is a self-study course and allows all catering businesses, regardless of size, to provide all of their staff with first class training.

Courses that allow learners to work in their own time when they are most productive, have proven to be most effective, cost-efficient and quicker. The costs of hiring a teacher and a classroom to teach employees are eradicated, and can be utilised in other areas of the business.

How long do food hygiene certificates last?

While there is no expiry date on the certificates issued, it is widely recognised within the industry that food hygiene certificate renewal should take place every three years. Some employers, however, may require their staff to renew their certification every year as part of their ongoing workplace training.

Food employers have the freedom to decide when they feel a refresher course is necessary for their workforce. Usually re-training occurs when there has been a change in food legislation or technical developments in food hygiene.

What food hygiene certificate do I need?

You will be able to find specific courses that relate directly to your line of work including catering, retail and manufacturing. A level 2 food hygiene and safety certificate satisfies a food handler’s legal obligation for food safety training in the workplace. Level 3 food safety training is required by managers and food supervisors, where a level 1 food hygiene certificate is a good introductory course for those practising food safety at home.


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