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Food hygiene training provides food industry workers with the information they need to uphold food safety protocols in the kitchen. In many places, food hygiene training for some kitchen employees is a requirement for the licensure of a restaurant or other establishment that serves food. Training in food hygiene can usually be obtained through community colleges, trade, and career schools.
There are numerous dangers inherent in running a commercial kitchen, including the contamination of food and the risk of spoilage. Food hygiene training can help reduce these risks by training restaurant owners, managers, and employees in safe food storage, handling, and preparation. In some cases, workers in non-commercial kitchens may likewise be required to complete a food hygiene training program, such as workers in churches, group homes, or soup kitchens. Food hygiene certification programs are usually updated on a regular basis to ensure that the food safety strategies taught are in keeping with current knowledge. In many cases, restaurant employees can take only government-approved training programs in food hygiene if they wish to be in compliance with local laws. Government requirements may also include the necessity for restaurant employees to display their current food hygiene training certification along with the restaurant's other licenses and permits.
Government requirements for food hygiene training vary considerably. In the United States, compliance with food hygiene standards is usually enforced by county or city inspectors, though state law may prescribe standards for food safety education. Culinary schools may offer food hygiene training and certification as part of their educational program, though graduates may still be required to pass a separate, government-approved licensing examination. Laws can also vary on the necessity for restaurant workers to complete this type of training. For example, local laws may only require that some employees receive training with the understanding that a certified employee is on duty at all times to supervise the non-credentialed employees.
For restaurant workers and owners who do not wish to attend culinary school, other opportunities for food safety training exist. In many places in the United States, for example, food safety training programs may only take a few days to complete, and in some areas online food hygiene training courses exist. Depending on local laws, a restaurant worker may be required to repeat the course every few years in order to renew his or her certification or license. Other options for refreshing food hygiene education may include short food safety workshops or continuing education courses.