Food Safety Certification - Deadline August 2014
So what is the Food Safety Certification and why is it so important?
The official legislation states that:
3.1 Those with responsibility for catering should be properly trained or instructed for their positions and have an adequate knowledge of food and personal hygiene to ensure that food is stored, stock rotated, handled, cooked and served safely and that good practice is clearly applied. Ships’ Cooks and other equivalent qualifications will include food hygiene training
3.2 Periodic assessments of the effectiveness of training or instructions should be made. Company and ship audits should be able to verify competency levels. If there is any evidence of poor hygiene practices, designated cooks or others working in the galley should receive refresher training or other appropriate food hygiene training.
3.3 Catering staff should have an awareness of the potential problems associated with food allergy and intolerance and have a basic understanding of how to avoid cross contamination and of the importance of providing accurate information to the crew.
Basically what this means is that by law, all food handlers (not only chefs and cooks but also food handlers such as stewards and stewardesses) should have a recognised Certificate in Food Safety by the 14th August 2014.
To Certify or Not to Certify?
The consequences of not having food handling crew certified are potentially significant. Officially, Yachts may be refused entry into any port with obvious inconvenience and financial implications.
But apart from the legal considerations, the common sense behind the legislation makes it a win-win for everyone in the yachting industry.
In recent years everyone has become far more aware of the potential risks associated with poor food handling, with high profile cases making the news. In the close working environment of a yacht, the hygiene, storage and preparation of food has particular challenges and affects far more than just the Galley and Service staff.
All members of a ship’s crew are involved. Everyone can potentially impact on food and water safety onboard, from the engineers storing potable water, maintaining the fridges and catering equipment to the deck department checking and loading provisions onboard. The Captain also has a key role to play, overseeing the whole operation to inspect the food preparation and storage areas and to understand the legal requirements.
Having properly trained crew can drastically reduce the chances of any food safety hazards due to increased awareness of the simple techniques of food storage and handling. This basic awareness and training can eliminate potential health issues for both crew and guests.
How to achieve certification?
• All food handlers must have a recognised qualification that is less than 3 years old.
• Relevant crew members must complete a one-day Level 2 Award in Food Safety course.
• Supervisors are recommended to attend the Level 3 Award Supervision in Food Safety.
• Online Food Safety courses are not currently approved or recognised by the MCA.
• The course must be accredited by a MCA recognised awarding body run by a centre approved by the awarding body.
• The candidate must pass a formal multiple-choice examination at the end of the course.
Courses are available throughout Europe, but as mentioned, demand in recent weeks has shot up as the deadline approaches. To find your nearest authorised trainer, visit the PYA website: pya.org