This award is regarded as the must-have qualification for all food handlers. Whether you work as a chef, cook, food and beverage assistant, beverage assistant, bar staff and any other job in hospitality where the handling and serving of food and drink is part of your duties, you are required by law to have a food safety qualification.
The Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering can be taken Online or in a group with other learners. Employers sometime hold the course in their premises or it can be held in a classroom-type environment. If the course is delivered, rather than online, it usually takes about 6 hours to complete. At the end of the course there is a 30-question, multiple-choice exam paper. The course must be delivered by an Accredited Centre, both online or in a training room. The exam must also be recognised by Ofqual and be on the QCF Register of Qualifications or it is not a valid, recognised course or certificate and will not be accepted by Local Council Environmental Health Departments. Many “so-called” training companies offer similar courses/qualifications for knock-down prices such as £10-20. These qualifications are not worth the paper they are written on, so beware!
The course and examination is not difficult, providing you listen to the trainer, either Online or in a training room and take notes of all salient information. As the examination is multiple choice, you can sometimes work out the answer by process of elimination, if you don’t know the correct answer for certain.
So, what subjects are covered in The Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering?
There are 8 subject areas including:
Introduction to Food Safety
Food Poisoning and Foodborne Disease
Design and Construction
Food Pests and Control
Cleaning and Disinfection
Food Safety Legislation
Each subject is clarified with the use of PowerPoint slides and trainer explanation. The trainer must be an experienced caterer and qualified to The Level 4 Award in Managing Food Safety in Catering and preferably have a science based degree.
The main objective of the The Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering is to understand the main principles of food safety and being able to use knowledge to control food hazards and to take preventative measures to avoid food poisoning.
The introduction to food safety involves explaining why food hygiene is required, what the symptoms and causes are of food poisoning and who the most susceptible groups of people are that are most at risk from food poisoning.
Basic Microbiology is probably the most difficult of the sections as you are expected to remember many details about temperatures and the conditions required for bacterial growth. One good thing, though, remembering bacterial names is no longer on the course curriculum….Hooray!
So no more Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus cereus and Salmonella entertidis to remember and regurgitate.
Food Poisoning, foodborne disease and personal hygiene are taught as one subject and covers such topics as how bacteria cause food poisoning, where bacteria, especially pathogens, come from. Examples are given how to prevent the contamination of food and why personal hygiene is so important in the prevention of contamination.
Design and construction of a kitchen and pest control are also taught as a single lesson. It covers how to demonstrate an appreciation of the standards required in a hygienic kitchen/working environment, what 3 properties are required of the internal fabric of a kitchen and how to recognise the signs of pest infestation and know what action to take.
The last section covers cleaning, disinfection and the legal requirements.
You would be expected to define and give examples of “Clean as you go” and “Scheduled Cleaning”, demonstrate an understanding of the uses of Cleaning and Disinfection chemicals and have an appreciation of Cleaning procedures of Premises, Equipment and Utensils.
The legal aspects of food safety are provided as you have to recognise your personal legal responsibilities as Food Handlers. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is also covered as since the 1st January 2006 all food businesses, regardless of size, must have in place a Food Safety Management System based on the seven principles of HACCP.