Last updated: 04.06.18

What food hygiene certificate do I need?

Under EU, and therefore UK, law, anyone working with food must have received training appropriate to their role. This is seen as being essential to ensuring good food hygiene standards and ultimately the safety of the general public. While training can be either informal, such as shadowing another employee, or formal, such as going on a course, in most cases it’s the latter that will be required. There’s no substitute for accredited, comprehensive training that’s designed with the law in professional standards in mind. However, there can still be confusion over what type of training to take. In this article, we’re going to help clear this up.

There are a great many different courses out there, but by far the most widely recognised are the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Food Hygiene certificates. No matter who these are accredited by, they are all generally approved by various local and governing bodies as the standard for good food hygiene. They’re also very popular because they can be taken online, do not take long to complete, and are a low-cost option. The question is, of course, which one is the right one for you and your employees?

Level 1

The Level 1 course is the most basic of them all. As a general rule, it’s unsuitable for employees working with food as it doesn’t go into quite enough detail. However, it is an excellent option for a variety of people. Firstly, it’s a useful course for those who don’t work with food directly, but who should have a basic understanding of food hygiene, which also means that it’s useful for people who may go on to take the Level 2 course in the future. Front of house staff for instance may find Level 1 useful. This certificate is also a great choice for schools and students who may be about to undertake work experience in a food preparation environment.

Level 2

Level 2 is by far the most commonly taken food hygiene certificate, as it covers just about everything someone might need to know if they’re working with food. From legislation and terminology to practical tips, it is a comprehensive option. It’s also very popular as it’s a cost-effective option for most businesses, and takes just two to three hours to complete. If you work with food, then you should have this certificate – it’s as simple as that. Here at Virtual College, we offer several variants of the Level 2 certificate aimed towards those in catering, manufacturing and retail. Click here to find out more about what these courses include and whether they’re right for you or your business.

Level 3

Level 3 is the highest food hygiene certificate level, and has been put together with managers and supervisors in mind. Any business that wants to do everything they can to achieve a five-star rating from their local environmental health authority, will ensure that senior members of the business have taken this course. This is an in-depth option that will take approximately eight hours to complete, and goes into further depth on every subject covered by Level 2. It also takes a look at the specific role of the supervisor within a food business, and their responsibilities in deciding and managing policies that affect the standard of food hygiene in the business.