UK survey shows decrease in food safety training

Food businesses in the United Kingdom are cutting back on food safety and hygiene training, according to a survey conducted by a leading provider of accredited food safety and health and safety qualifications.

The survey, conducted last month by the U.K Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), involved 5000 food safety trainers and training centres.

Around 50 per cent of trainers thought the uptake of food safety training by food businesses was being negatively affected by the present economic climate, while 70 per cent identified ‘cost cutting’ as the main reason why businesses were not investing in training.

CIEH Head of Policy David Kidney said the results of the survey were a “cause for concern.”

“If this trend continues public health could be put at risk – potentially triggering a food poisoning time bomb,” he said.

“Proper instruction or training of food handlers in food hygiene is a legal obligation and businesses must ensure that their staff have the skills to ensure the health and wellbeing of the customers they serve.”

Mr Kidney said it was “understandable” that many businesses had to rein in spending because of the economic downturn, but advised quality training should be an investment for businesses to protect staff and their company’s reputation.

“A food poisoning outbreak can be the death knell for a food business and can have a myriad of consequences from reputational damage to business failure.”

Mr Kidney said the rise of cheap online food safety training and training solutions was also a concern. He advised businesses to be cautious when choosing a course: “Make sure the course you choose is fit for your purpose and that you are not wasting your precious resources on cowboy companies.”

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