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How To Create An Effective Food Safety Training Program

By Alicia Beharry
Published on July 6, 2023

What is Food Safety Training?

Food safety training is instruction on proper ways to handle and prepare food to prevent foodborne illness. Food safety training typically includes instruction on important safety and sanitation principles, as well as guidance on identifying and preventing potential safety issues related to food. The food safety training also focuses on proper labeling and storage of food and hazardous materials, as well as on pest control and food allergies. Employees who work in the food service industry, be it in preparing, processing, packing, or storing, need to undergo food safety training to reduce the chances of contamination and to protect the health of consumers and workers. With proper food safety training, you and your employees can help reduce the risk of foodborne illness and help protect your business.

What Food Safety Training Topics Should You Cover?

Depending on the type of business (i.e., restaurant, food processing plant, etc.), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends some or all of the following topics be presented in your food safety training for employees: proper hygiene practices; cleaning and sanitizing food areas; food temperature control; safe food handling and storage; pest control; recall procedures; food labeling; and traceability.

Sanitation and Quality Standards (SQLs)

Employees can further their knowledge on proper standards for food preparation and handling with SQLs that focus on food safety. Sanitation and Quality Standards (SQLs) food safety training includes topics such as:

  • Hygiene practices
  • Government regulations
  • Standards for controlling bacteria
  • Risk assessment, management, and communication

Preventive Food Safety Systems Training

Preventive food safety systems training should equip employees with the knowledge and skills to implement HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) principles. This covers both the preparation and storage of food, such as proper cooking techniques or safe temperature ranges. By utilizing HACCP principles, these employees will be better prepared to keep food safe to consume.

Natural Toxins

This type of food safety training helps employees understand and prevent toxins that naturally occur in food. It enables them to identify these natural toxins and avert them from being ingested.

Bacterial Pathogens

It is essential for employees to understand foodborne pathogens and how they can lead to serious illnesses. This food safety training focuses on informing people of what these pathogens are and how to prevent them from contaminating food products.

Chemical contaminants

Learning about chemical pollution focuses on understanding how certain pesticides, metals, and other harmful toxins can impact the environment and what we consume. Additionally, it looks at possible measures to reduce the levels of contaminants in food.

Food Processing and Technology

This type of food safety training focuses on food processing technologies that are currently being used in the industry. By applying the latest technology, food quality can be improved and the safety of the food can be ensured.

How to Create Effective Food Safety Training For Your Employees

The following are four steps to help you develop an effective food safety training program:

1. Establish Clear Goals: Develop an understanding of your facility’s overall food safety goals and objectives and make sure everyone in your organization is in agreement on them. 

2. Choose the Ideal Training Format and Platform: Consider the ideal format and platform for training your employees on food safety, taking into account their individual learning styles and preferences. For instance, utilizing a Learning Management System (LMS) is an effective way to provide employees with access to resources and activities that are tailored to their individual learning needs. This includes providing instructional videos, interactive activities, and digital assessments that allow employees to learn and retain food safety information in a way that suits them best. 

3. Make Training Visible and Ongoing: Create easily visible reminders of food safety practices and encourage employees to periodically review and refresh their knowledge.

4. Evaluate and Assess Results: It is important  to track employee progress regularly and use the results to assess the effectiveness of your food safety training program, pinpointing areas where additional focus or learning may be necessary. An LMS will provide supervisors with an effective and efficient way to track employee progress, allowing them to address any potential gaps or provide additional support as needed.

Food safety training is not a one-time activity; it must be kept up-to-date and refreshed. To ensure that employees are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent food-borne illnesses, high-level overviews of safety procedures must be provided. Additionally, microlearning modules and performance support tools within your LMS can be used to integrate safety training into the workplace. These offer timely, tailored, and location-specific support that ensures employees work in accordance with important safety regulations.

Getting Started: Food Safety Training Resources

Creating food safety training courses for employees can be difficult to start from scratch. To make things easier, we’ve done the research and put together some free food safety training resources to help you get started.

1. Canada’s Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: Overview of the Basics 

2. Food Safety: A Guide for Ontario’s Food Handlers

3. Food Safety Requirements In Canada

4. USDA Food Safety

5. New Era Of Smarter Food Safety FDA’s Blueprint for the Future

6. CDC and the Food Safety Modernization Act

7. FDA Food Code 2022

Building Your Employee Food Safety Training Programs

SkyPrep LMS can provide the perfect tailored eLearning solution for any business or individual needing an online food safety training course. Whether you’re looking for a customizable program or want to utilize our collaborative eLearning tools for added support, our specialized training will ensure that your employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for success.

If you would like to learn more about SkyPrep and how we can help you build a custom food safety training program for your employees, request a call and one of our product specialists will be in touch shortly.

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