Food Handler – Course Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to Food Safety & The Law

Candidates will describe the terminology used in food safety, state the laws that apply to food businesses & food handlers, and be able to:

  • Define the terms food safety, pathogenic foodborne illness, contamination, and hazard
  • State the consequences of poor standards of food hygiene and the benefits of good standards
  • Describe the symptoms of food poisoning
  • Give examples of pathogenic food-borne diseases and common viruses
  • State the difference between pathogenic and spoilage bacteria
  • Give examples of common food contaminants
  • State common causes of physical and chemical contamination
  • State the biological and non-biological causes of food poisoning
  • Give examples of those people most at risk
  • State the possible consequences of non-compliance with food safety law

Chapter 2: Food Safety Hazards – Pathogenic Bacteria

Candidates will explain the concept of food hazards, how the risk of food poisoning can be contained and be able to:

  • State what micro-organisms are and where they are to be found
  • State the factors that influence the multiplication of food poisoning pathogenic bacteria
  • Explain the process by which bacteria reproduce and the timescale of that process
  • Identify the importance of spore formation in relation to the cooking, cooling and the reheating of foods
  • Explain the significance of bacterial toxins.
  • State the risks associated with food being handled by carriers or victims of food poisoning or food-borne illness
  • Identify the concept of the ‘temperature danger zone’
  • State the high and low temperatures required to minimise bacterial multiplication
  • Define and give examples of TCS foods and high-risk foods
  • Explain the concepts of ‘contamination’ and ‘cross-contamination’
  • State the reasons for the separation of raw and ready-to-eat foods in storage

Chapter 3: Allergens

Candidates will define the concept of allergens, how the risk of cross contamination can be contained and be able to:

  • Give examples of potentially unsafe practices concerning allergenic food ingredients
  • Explain the term Due Diligence in the context of the use of allergenic ingredients
  • Describe the symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylactic attack)
  • Explain the existence and potential dangers of hidden allergenic ingredients
  • Give examples of hidden allergenic ingredients in common foods and dishes
  • State the vital importance of clear written communication regarding all aspects of the use of allergenic ingredients in food production and service with the customer
  • Describe appropriate communication between front-of-house staff and kitchen, and communication with the customer
  • State the potential consequences of a failure in communication on allergenic ingredients between staff members, or between a staff member and a customer

Chapter 4: Time & Temperature Controls

Candidates should state how time and temperature play a key role in the supply of safe food and minimising bacterial multiplication and be able to:

  • State the temperatures required to destroy harmful pathogenic bacteria or to minimise their multiplication
  • Explain the risks associated with; under-cooking of foods, re-heating food, hot holding food
  • Describe methods of monitoring cooking and holding temperature
  • Explain the importance of rapid and thorough re-heating of food
  • State the temperatures at which hot food must be stored
  • State the temperatures at which chilled food must be stored
  • Describe safe methods of rapid chilling of cooked food
  • Describe freezing and the safe storage of frozen foods
  • Describe safe methods of defrosting frozen foods
  • Explain how thermometers should be calibrated, used, cleaned and sanitized

Chapter 5: Principles of Safe Food Storage

Candidates should state the importance of utilising appropriate storage conditions for different types of food and be able to:

  • State the significance and importance of ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ dates on foods
  • Describe the principles of stock rotation and fifo
  • Identify the appropriate storage conditions for frozen, chilled and ambient foods
  • Describe procedures required for dealing with foods that may cause allergic reactions 

Chapter 6: Food Pests

Candidates should define the dangers of pests to food safety and be able to:

  • Define the term food pest and describe the conditions in which pests thrive
  • Name the different types of common food pests
  • List the signs of a pest infestation
  • Detail how pests can be prevented from entering a building
  • Describe what actions should be taken in the event of an infestation being discovered
  • State the legal requirements of pest control
  • Explain the term Denial of Access

Chapter 7: Cleaning

Candidates should state the importance of cleaning in food premises and be able to:

  • Describe acceptable methods of storing and disposing of trash from food premises
  • State the role of cleaning in preventing food contamination
  • Describe the washing facilities that should be provided for food and equipment
  • Explain the difference between a detergent and a sanitizer
  • Describe the use of cleaning chemicals and sanitizers
  • Describe how clean and suitable wiping cloths should be stored
  • Describe the three-sink cleaning method
  • State the importance of cleaning schedules
  • Describe the effective cleaning of a work surface

Chapter 8: Front of House

Candidates should state the food safety dangers within the front of house operation and be able to:

  • Describe how to set a table properly
  • State the benefits to food safety of correct table service
  • Explain the dangers of cross contamination at the Front of House
  • Describe the dangers associated with buffets and self service areas
  • Explain how to maintain food safety in self service areas
  • Describe how to clean a table properly and avoid cross contamination
  • Explain how to deal with food spills
  • Describe the hidden dangers associated with electronic ordering systems

Chapter 9: Personal Hygiene

Candidates should define the importance of personal hygiene as a food handlers and the risk to food safety associated with poor personal hygiene and be able to:

  • State the importance of personal hygiene in food handling
  • Detail the need for, and suitable methods of, hand washing
  • Describe the importance and properties of protective clothing
  • Explain how and when to wash
  • Explain the safe use of disposable gloves
  • Describe the risks associated with unhygienic habits
  • State symptoms of sickness you must report to your supervisor
  • Detail the common pathogens that you must report
  • State the appropriate methods of protecting food from cuts and acne