Splashing vegetables

Food Safety: Training Ideas for Staff

With Food Safety such a key issue in kitchens, it can be a great challenge to train staff especially in a high turnover setting and in a forever changing industry. Even with these challenges, a foodservice operator must keep the dedication to food safety in the forefront. Some ideas for training and reinforcement of food safety principles:

  • Introduce Food Safety Principles on Day 1 of New Staff Orientation: This will help in reinforcing to staff how important food safety is to the daily operations. A session in the new staff orientation could be developed to underscore the importance of food handling, sanitation, and personal hygiene.
  • Offer a Formal Training Program (such as ServSafe) on a Scheduled Basis: This can be a beneficial training session for existing staff so that they can earn public and peer recognition and reinforcement of the skills that they have learned and utilize every day.
  • Post Food Safety Visual Reminders: Having daily reminders at key locations (at hand sink, food prep areas, etc.) help in reinforcing desired change in behaviors. Change postings often so that the message doesn’t just became part of the background. Posting current news articles about food safety is another way to provide the message is a fresh format.
  • Discuss a Food Safety Principle Daily in Huddle / Change of Shift Meetings: This could be a reinforcement of a weekly food safety topic and can be presented either by the meeting leader or by a staff member. This could be a discussion session which would allow staff to contribute and interact on how this principle is handled in their area of responsibility.
  • Incorporate Technology for Ongoing Training Sessions: This can be set up in training modules and staff can work their way through the modules on a scheduled basis. This type of training will include the objectives of the training and a method to assess general understanding of principles reviewed. This could be a customized program or purchased software. Many options for this type of software is available for purchase on the Internet.
  • Initiate a Specific Food Safety Topic Campaign: This could include banners, posters, discussion inclusion in daily shift meetings, and fun activities to reinforce the topic and daily application of the principle.
  • Incorporate Fun Activities in Food Safety Training Sessions: Change things up in training sessions by having fun and interactive sessions using games such as Bingo, Jeopardy, Songs / Skits, and Scavenger Hunts (finding food safety improvement opportunities in department).
  • Be Sure to Inspect What You Expect: All the training in the world does not ensure that staff understand or utilize correct food handling principles. It is the responsibility of management to identify violations and to coach staff to make corrections. By planning a set schedule of random unannounced management conducted walk – throughs and then sharing results with staff in a timely manner will go a long way in reinforcing safe food handling, but will also show staff how important food safety is to management.