Unit 1 Lesson 2 – Identify key legal responsibilities of food handlers Copy

This lesson will centre on the idea of what your legal responsibilities are when you are handling food.

The focus will be on what are the requirements for:

  • Food safety training and what supervision should be in retail
  • Reporting of illness
  • Following rules and procedures that are implemented for food safety

Remember anyone who comes into contact with food, has a legal
responsibility for its safety and safe delivery to the customer.

The 4 key points underpinning and food safety is the 4 C of food hygiene

● Cleaning
● Cooking
● Chilling
● Cross-contamination

Although you might not have a direct role in all of these steps it is
important to have an understanding of what they are.


By law, all staff members who come into contact with food should have some training in food safety, hygiene, and should have been adequately supervised. You do not have to hold a food certificate but do need to have some training.

The Best practice is that you complete formal training (like this course you are currently on), but to satisfy the legal requirements this training can be less formal and can even take the form of on the job training. Although as stated it is better to have more formalised
comprehensive training than not.

The training you receive should be appropriate for the responsibilities you have. For example, most staff will just need to understand what their role is and how to manage their responsibilities, At least one member of staff should have been trained in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).


It is vital that if you become ill or develop an illness you inform your employer as soon as possible. Certain ailments would require you to be aware from work for up to 48 hours (after the last instance of illness)

If you become ill with any of the following you MUST inform your manager or supervisor. This is especially important in the Covid 19 pandemic era. The law is clear “No person suffering from, or being a carrier of a disease likely to be transmitted through food or afflicted, for example, with infected wounds, skin infections, sores or diarrhoea is to be
permitted to handle food or enter any food-handling area in any capacity if there is any likelihood of direct or indirect contamination.“

The main symptoms to look or for are: Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Colds, Sore throats, Congested eyes, Skin infections, Stomach upsets and Suspected food poisoning.

Failure to report this to your employer could result in the business needing to close in order to undertake a “Deep Clean”. This could put additional pressure on the business.

The best practice would be that you would also inform your employer if you have come into close and prolonged contact with someone who has shown these symptoms. Prolonged contact is defined as 15 minutes or longer with less than 1 or 2-meter space.

Cuts and wounds

It is vitally important that if you have a cut or wound, even if the injury had not happened at work, that the wound is dressed appropriately. This will be through the use of an easy to detect covering (blue plaster).

If you have potentially infected or injured skin that is more than a cut that could be covered by a plaster this does not rule you out from working with food, unless it is weeping and not possible to cover it with a waterproof covering

The following are examples of possible injured skin dressings.

The business should have clear and defined policies and procedures to manage food hygiene and its safety. These should include –

  • Training,
  • Recruitment
  • Day to day staffing levels
  • Supervision
  • Implementation of food safety management procedures
  • Supply of appropriate sanitary accommodation
  • Potable water supply
  • Adequate washing facilities, equipment, materials and PPE (personal protective equipment)
  • Record keeping and accident reporting
  • Compliance with EHOs (environmental health officers)/EHPs
    (environmental health practitioners),
  • Provide sufficient ventilation

Prevention is better than the cure and preventing others from getting ill is better than managing the consequences of the illness. The easiest way to do this is to compile with the law and regulations but also with the policies and procedures of the business. The key goal is to prevent food poisoning outbreaks.

Unlike other food safety issues, this is something that only becomes known after the event has happened when it is too late to prevent All you can do is investigate the cause and put procedures in place to stop it from happening again.