Food recalls are avoidable with food safety training

Mars has become one the latest manufacturers to recall batches of their items due to concerns about whether there is a risk of salmonella and therefore food poisoning.

The recall was a precautionary measure after routine testing highlighted a risk from the ingredients used. The recall encompassed the popular Minstral’s sweet night in product, the Galaxy range and Malteaser Teasers.

Customer confidence, thoughts about safety and doubts about whether the next batch is likely to be recalled too, will impact on sales. This is obviously undesirable and inevitable questionsare raised about why this happened and how to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.

If Mars hadn’t have acted swiftly the potential salmonella outbreak could have been disastrous.

Consumers could have fallen victim to stomach cramps, fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Symptoms can take 12-72 hours to present themselves and could last for 4-7 days. Many people won’t need medical treatment but vulnerable consumers might need to be hospitalised. Not what you’d expect from a tasty treat.

It takes just one blip to create a food safety incident and long term damage to reputation.

FSA Food inspectors cannot be installed in every food outlet or manufacturers as a control measure. Plus, their inspections may be in May, a food hygiene lapse could occur in July. So, what happened between May and July? Was an issue highlighted by food inspectors but not acted upon, is a HACCP food safety management system being enforced? Were you lucky on inspection day in May because you had no new starters or people prone to mistakes?

The only way to guarantee peace of mind at management level is to ensure that staff are well trained and that risk assessment, control measures and checks are efficient. Food safety is everyone’s responsibility, from cleaner to trainee, full time to part time and supervisor to preparation staff.

Food safety training

Training companies including Food Alert offer food safety training which helps to minimise the risks so that product recalls are lessened.

Unless you and your team have achieved a Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme score of 5 and everyone is perfect, there is room for knowledge growth and instruction about processes and legislation.

Food safety training makes an audit less of a dreaded event. It can be obvious to food inspectors who knows how to work correctly and who doesn’t. If they can see a plethora of certificates attesting to proficiency, compliance and a commitment to excellence they can enjoy confidence that management and owners have the correct approach and tools in operation.

e.g. Level 2 HACCP food safety training:

  • Components of HACCP food safety management systems.
  • Risk awareness.
  • HACCP’s purpose and benefits.
  • How to use HACCP.
  • The seven principles.
  • Establishing HACCP food safety management systems.
  • Identifying HACCP procedures.
  • Hazard recognition.
  • Critical control points.
  • Corrective actions at all levels of employment.
  • Food hygiene – assessing critical control areas.
  • Contamination and sources.
  • Controls to prevent contamination.
  • How to reduce/eliminate risks using HACCP.
  • How HACCP reduces risks.
  • Workplace safety.
  • Staff competency.


Don’t take risks, seek specialist food safety training.

Do you need food safety courses to be campylobacter safe?

Did you know that campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK?

The Food Standards Agency has published the second set of results from its third annual survey of campylobacter on fresh shop bought UK produced chickens. The testing was carried out on 1051 whole fresh chickens between January and March 2017.

There is reason for cautious optimism because although 6.5% of the chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, which meant that they were carrying more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g), this is a decrease from last year’s tests over the same period which delivered a resultof 9.3%.

However, 6.5% shows that there is still a considerable risk to consumers and if the product is not handled and prepared correctly serious food hygiene and food poisoning instances will occur.

Some of the FSA’s other findings:

  • The firms which had much lower levels compared to the average among all retailers tested were M&S, Morrisons and Waitrose at 2.5%, 2.8% and 2.7% respectively.
  • The group of smaller retailers and butchers tested had a worryingly high level of 16.9% compared to the average.
  • 8% of samples tested positive for campylobacter at any level. Last year’s figure was 50% so there is a slight reduction.

From these official figures, we can ascertain that whilst many of the larger chains of supermarkets are striving to reduce contamination, in the smaller establishments there is still a knowledge gap and correct procedures are not being consistently met.

In 2016 there were 100000 fewer cases of campylobacter than in the previous year but the food safety levels need strong commitment and focus to make the number of food poisoning cases diminish again. This not only helps consumers and the industry to prosper but the number of days taken off work and NHS spending reduce too.

Food safety courses should be taken by all staff who handle any food, not just chicken, so that the correct procedures, legislative measures and controls are met.

It’s probable that if you asked your team one by one how to handle chicken and reduce the campylobacter food poisoning risks, you’d receive a plethora of answers. Food supplier training firms like Food Alert ensure that only one answer is provided to food safety courses attendees and this is the right one.

Food supplier training has several forms:

  • CIEH Food Safety Awareness.
  • Food Safety Induction Training.
  • CIEH level 1 Food Safety.
  • CIEH level 2 Food Safety.
  • CIEH level 3 Food Safety.
  • RSPH level 4 Managing Food Safety
  • CIEH level 2 Food Safety in Manufacturing.
  • CIEH level 3 Supervising Food Safety in Manufacturing.
  • CIEH level 4 Managing Food Safety in Manufacturing.
  • CIEH level 2 Cleaning in Food Premises.

  • Level 2 Award in Principles of HACCP.
  • Level 3 Award in HACCP in Catering.
  • Expert assistance is also available for personalising HACCP plans.

Food safety courses will always cost less than prosecution, loss of reputation and fines so please safeguard your operation today.