What Food Safety Certificate Do I Need Do I Need to Work in the Catering / Manufacturing Industry?

What Food Safety Certificate Do I Need to Work in Catering

So What Food Safety Certificate Do I Need to work in the Catering / Manufacturing Industry?  Whoever works in a setting where they cook, prepare or generally handle food requires a hygiene cert. These settings involve workplaces ranging from catering and hospitality, butcheries and bakeries, educational institutions, Cafés, and restaurants to ingredients’ manufacturing and packaging factories. They also involve various takeaway or fast food outlets, healthcare facilities, mobile catering, pubs or nightclubs, Hotels or Guesthouses, home businesses, supermarkets, or  retailers and charity food banks, wholesalers and suppliers among other places. If you work in any of these places, your level of interacting with ingredients also varies dramatically.

Perhaps you work in an area where they prepare, handle and package ingredients but you do not yourself handle it, or you indeed prepare, handle, and package products that consumers eat. It is also possible that you supervise others who prepare, handle and package these products. Furthermore, it could be that you only handle pre-packaged items, and do not exactly work in an environment where they prepare, handle or package food. Regardless of the catering setting or your roles, provided they concern food, there are certain standards and guidelines, which the Food Standards Agency (FSA) obliges you to follow, which your Local Authority Environmental Officers enforce. You must therefore, naturally ask; what food safety certificate do I need?

Which level of hygiene certificate do I need?

The quick answer is that it depends on one, the catering or manufacturing industry in which you are working, and two, how much your roles, regardless of the workplace, involve the handling of food. The  hygiene certificate that you need is a document that proves that any food, drink or other consumables you are selling have passed the necessary standards of hygiene and don’t pose any risk to your customers.You’re not legally allowed to produce, sell or offer such products for sale unless you have this certificate. It’s illegal to sell unsafe products without the correct documentation, so it’s essential that you’re aware of its importance. A food hygiene certificate is required for all businesses who prepare, manufacture or store foodstuffs in a commercial environment. It complies with legislation set out by local councils and the European Union, so if you want to stay on the right side of the law – it pays off to get one. The hygiene certificate is mainly needed for the food processing sectors. The framework for this permit is set by the FSA. In order to meet these standards, one must take a short course and pass an exam. The Hygiene Certificate is necessary for imported products too and it enables businesses to import goods from abroad as well as export their own products abroad. It also helps businesses to ensure that they are following good practices as required by law. Generally, you may require either a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 hygiene certificate. Or if you are in a senior management posistion, you may require a level 4 certificate.

Level 1: Food Awareness Certificate

This introductory hygiene certificate shows that you are aware of the hazards of handling low-risk products. It is for staff that work in support roles within environments that produce, prepare, and serve food, but do not handle it. It is also for people dealing in low-risk items such as vegetables and fruits, and for those who work with prepackaged or wrapped drinks and products, including those serving items that are ‘ready-to-eat’. Examples of those who need this certificate are waiters, bar workers, front house employees, kitchen porters, checkout staff, delivery riders and drivers, warehouse staff, and retailers in low-risk products, such as sweet shops. However, to meet and satisfy the legal requirements, the FSA recommends all food handlers attain a Level 2 certificate, as a bare minimum.

Level 2: Food Hygiene  

Does your role involve directly cooking, preparing, handling food, or serving food to the consumer directly? Then you need a Level 2 certificate, also referred to as a basic food hygiene certificate. This certificate especially applies to those working in retail, catering, and manufacturing food places.  They must have one to satisfy the legal requirement to work.  The certificate shows that you understand your legal responsibilities, and further understand the best practices when it comes to controlling hazards associated with hygiene, temperature control, food preparation and storage, personal hygiene, and the cleanliness of the food premises. Overall, this certificate is good for food handlers working across the catering sector, including those working in hotels and guesthouses, restaurants, cafes, kitchens, bars, and fast food outlets, and institutions such as schools and hospital facilities.

Level 3: Supervising Food Safety in Catering

The level 3 certificate is also known as the intermediate food hygiene certificate. It is for those who supervise and manage settings where products are cooked, prepared, handled and served, and who control systems for food management and ensuring the food you produce is safe to eat. Possession of this certificate means that you understand the daily responsibilities, including the implementation of the basics of a food management system i.e. HACCP. It means that you are conversant about how to oversee safe and hygienic food handling within the provided law. So if you are a supervisor in, or a manager of any catering setting, including guest houses and hotels, restaurants, kitchens, cafes, fast food outlets, and bars, you need a Level 3 certificate.

Certificate to sell food at home

How about if you are selling food at home, do you also need a hygiene certificate? Generally, if you are selling food at home on small scale, then you do not legally need a hygiene certificate. However, if you have registered a business, then you will need to undergo  training in food hygiene that is commensurate to the level of your work activities whilst selling safe to eat products from home.

How to get a Food hygiene certificate?

For you to get a food hygiene certificate, regardless of the level, you need to enroll and complete the appropriate training food hygiene course in accordance with the food industry sector you are working, and your roles in terms of how closely you deal with food. Upon completing any such accredited course, you receive a printed certificate from an accredited training institution.

Is online training better than classroom training?

Online training is an effective and efficient way to get trained. It offers more flexibility for learners as it can be completed at a time that suits them. Classroom training is beneficial because of the personal attention and interaction with tutors, peers, and experts that are involved in the lessons. Online learning is not better than classroom training since both have their benefits and disadvantages. However, online training has been on the rise as it offers 24-hour access to courses with no need for travel or any other associated costs.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning” is a pedagogical approach that combines many different ways of teaching. It is an educational strategy of combining various in-person or face-to-face teaching methods with online or digital content to create a more personalized, engaging, and interactive environment for students to learn. A blended class might have some students sitting in chairs discussing STEM concepts with the teacher while others are connected to the same lesson through their laptops in the library. Teachers can create blended classes by assigning collaborative homework tasks and incorporating use of technology. Some companies may feel blended learning is more beneficial to their employees, as the employee can work through the online training at their own pace and when they are ready can book an exam where a training provider can come to the work premise to deliver the Exam to all employees at the same time. In turn meaning the employee doesnt need to leave the work premise, so less time required off the premises. Resulting in more productivity for the business concerned.


In summary, the question arises: which food hygiene certificate is necessary for someone working within the Catering or Manufacturing Industry? It is important to note that higher-level certificates incorporate the knowledge and expertise that one acquires through lower-level certificate courses. As a result, if you have already obtained a Level 2 Certificate, there is no requirement to pursue a Level 1 certificate, even if your job responsibilities evolve over time. Similarly, if you have already secured a Level 3 certificate, there will be no necessity to obtain a Level 1 or Level 2 certificate, as your higher-level certification already encompasses the required knowledge.

Moreover, it is not mandatory to progress through a step-by-step process, beginning with Level 1, advancing to Level 2, and ultimately reaching Level 3. Instead, you can simply enroll in and successfully achieve the certificate that is most pertinent to your degree of engagement and involvement in food preparation and handling. This approach allows you to focus on obtaining the most relevant certification for your particular role within the industry.

In the United Kingdom, there exists an abundance of local area providers offering food hygiene certificates, ensuring that individuals working in the catering and manufacturing sectors have access to the necessary training and certification. These providers can help you determine which level of certification is most suitable for your specific job role and responsibilities, ensuring that you are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain the highest standards of food hygiene and safety.

How about when considering the aspect of expiration? In the context of the United Kingdom, does the food safety certificate possess a specific expiry period? The genuine response to this inquiry would be negative. In the UK, food safety certificates, in reality, do not have an expiration date. However, guidance from a Local Authority Inspection might suggest that you partake in a refresher course to maintain your knowledge and skills up to date. Furthermore, even though there typically isn’t a designated expiry date for various food hygiene certificates, such as Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3, the catering industry’s best practices recommend renewing these certificates once every three years to ensure continuous adherence to the highest standards of food safety and hygiene. If you are still asking yourself “What food safety certificate do I need” then click on the Enquire Now button at the top right of this page and we will try our best to guide you.



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