How Can I Make My Food Safety Training More Effective

COVID 19 Pandemic – the perfect time to review your food safety training programme

You should “never waste a good crisis” according to Winston Churchill and I agree. On the off chance that you have not already done so, this crisis would be the perfect time to review your food safety training programme. In many cases I am sure you have been using the basis of this training for COVID 19 training too – handwashing, correct wearing of existing and new PPE and health screening reminders. But it’s a good time to review for food safety aspects too.


5 things you should add to your food safety training programme:


1. The WHY of training

Many training programmes I have seen launch straight into the WHAT of food safety – what should you do, what we have to do, what the law says, what the WHO says. This information is important but the WHY is a better place to start.

When you talk about the WHY, Frank Yiannas reminds us that statistics of food borne illness, while shocking, simply do not move us – stories do. Ask your delegates to share their stories of possible food borne illness. I have rarely met a group where there is not at least one person who has or who knows someone who has been hospitalized.

Ask the class to bring pictures of their children, grandchildren and to share these – this is WHY we do food safety. A picture wall in the canteen will be a great daily reminder.


2. Make it RISK-BASED and RELEVANT to every day

Don’t waste time training on aspects of food safety that may be very interesting but are irrelevant. If you do not work with allergens, no need to spend two hours discussing this. Your employees must be able to relate immediately to the content and so make it relevant. This is also why general food safety training wont be as effective as specific training. Not all aspects are relevant to all jobs and some aspects are too critical to gloss over in a general training session.

3. Make sure the information is CORRECT

I have reviewed training programmes which are a collection of information gathered from consumer sites on the internet. The information has been incorrect in many cases. Make sure you use scientifically correct information because you want to ensure your employees get the right message and also take this home. There is no legal requirement that states this training cannot be done by an inhouse trainer but make sure you are teaching the right things.

4. TEST then train

The law requires that “routine assessments are conducted to determine the impact of the training programmes and arrange follow up training as applicable”.  We do spend a lot of time and effort training people on what they already know. Training them again may not be necessary and training them the same way may not change their behaviour. Training may not be the problem. Be intentional about training efforts.

5. Make it FUN

Refresher training is important but repeating the same training as last year is not going to inspire your team. Go the extra mile – spice it up, update it, revitalize it. I dare you – even make it fun. That way they won’t forget.

© Linda Jackson via Food Focus