Food Handler – Course Contents

  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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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 


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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