Looking for a food safety course? There are a number of agencies in Alberta and across Canada that offer food safety courses and they all seem to be the same, so which one should you pick?
The first thing to consider is the reason or your goal for taking the course in the first place. Of course, it’s always a good idea for anyone working in a food facility to take food safety training. However, in some situations food safety training is required to meet a specific requirement.
Maybe you’re a new business owner and the government requires a food safety certificate before you open your business. Or maybe you’re a manager and your company require that staff are trained on a regular basis.
Knowing why you need the food safety course is important because not all food safety courses are the same. Even though they may look similar, they can differ in the type and detail of information provided.
Most provinces’ Food Safety Regulations have a requirement for food safety course training certificates. We wrote about Alberta’s food safety requirements here.
It’s important to understand the Food Safety Regulation and training requirements in your area so you can choose the right course.
If you’re looking for a food safety course to meet the requirement of your local Food Safety Regulation then first make sure the course is approved in your area. Often government websites will have information about which courses are approved and which one are not. For example, Food Safety Leaders course is approved under the Alberta Food Regulation so if you’re in Alberta, you’d be meeting the requirements of the Food Regulation when you take the Food Safety Leaders course.
If you’re not taking the course to meet the requirements of the Regulation, then the next thing to consider is what do you want the training to do exactly. For example, if you are a small food business and you already meet the required number of certified staff but you decide to have all your staff trained in food safety, (excellent idea) you may decide to look at other available courses, not just the government approved ones. In this case you may choose a basic food safety course or a refresher course instead of the full course.
There are a number of food safety refresher courses that cover the basics of food safety and don’t typically go into all the detail that a government approved course would go into. For example, Alberta Health Services has a free home-study course that teaches the basics of food safety.
Lastly, you maybe looking for something more advanced in food safety. We get requests for advanced food safety training when a food business is trying to sell a product to a major retailer like Walmart or Sobeys. These retailers often request that food business have an advanced food safety program. The most common is a HACCP program (HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and if you took Food Safety Leaders course you’d know that already 😊). HACCP programs are systems that take a systematic approach to controlling food safety in a facility. It is used extensively in the food production/manufacturing world, but many restaurants also have a food-service modified program.
If you are looking for training on advanced food safety programs like HACCP, you will have a number of options to choose from. The best thing to do is to speak to the instructors before you register and inquire about the content they deliver.
Side note, at Food Safety Leaders, we are working on a more advanced course so look for that in the near future (we hope).
Well, hopefully this helped shed some light on how to choose a food safety course. If you’re not sure if our Food Safety Leaders course is right for you, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to convince you to take our course… Ahmm, just kidding. We’ll help you choose the course the best fits for you.
Take care everyone and until the next blog post – keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.