A national survey of food hygiene training and qualification levels in the UK food industry
The food hygiene training received and qualifications held by four different grades of food handlers were compared by means of a postal survey of 1650 businesses in the manufacturing, retail and catering sectors of the UK food industry. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were identified between the methods of training delivery to, and qualifications held by different grades of food handlers across the three industry sectors. Business status, personnel characteristics and risk perceptions of managers all had significant effects on the methods of training used and qualification levels achieved within each industry sector. Positive attitudes towards training were expressed by most managers although follow-up face-to-face interviews revealed their concerns about the cost, time and relevancy of the training their staff received. Whilst both the uptake of training and level of food hygiene qualifications may have improved in recent years, this study highlighted the need to develop training methods that are proven to change workplace behaviour as well as imparting knowledge. This may be best achieved by consolidating food hygiene training as a fundamental part of a wider approach to food safety control based on HACCP.
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