Top ten tips for allergen training by Rob Henry, QA and Technical Manager and Julian Edwards, Allergen Accreditation
Top ten tips for allergen training for your team and why this is vital in light of the changes to law from 1 October 2021.
Review and assess who in your organisation needs training, for either refreshers or for new courses. It’s always good to do this at least annually.
Food and drink handling staff will always need food safety and allergen training, but what about administrative personnel and staff who deal directly with customers or those tasked with fixing up the IT software systems for menus? Get these involved with your staff training review.
Understand your team and how they work. Training can be a minefield and a great worry for some team members. A more hands on group session may be less of a threat as opposed to a rigid, formal listening and test.
Online training can equally be daunting for staff. For certain courses that you need team members to sit at a PC, make sure you run through how this works and offer to help set it up, run through logging in etc. Make sure staff are not home alone just with their android for training, see what IT help you can provide, even loan. More crucially the un-tech savvy may even need a buddy to walk them through it.
Make sure to provide information about the course, some pre-homework perhaps. And when it comes to the training itself, where there will be a test – provide some sample questions and answers. Do this as a group so not to leave anyone feeling intimidated. More of these the better and candidates will get a much better feel for how to complete their test papers.
Think about different courses for differing staff, dependent on their responsibilities. For e.g. Level 3 Highfield, that we deliver, is best for chefs and managers. The Purple Allergen Plan (we deliver too), is super for larger groups with a lot of interaction and discussion – really getting the message across and bedding in an allergen culture into the organisation!
For any pre-packed for direct sale items – think Natasha’s Law that comes into force on 1 October 2021 – staff will need bespoke training on how to construct a compliant label for sandwiches and similar products being produced in your kitchen.
Customer care is pivotal to all allergen training, especially for customer facing team members. This is to ensure the right company communications policy is adhered to and that all customers, especially those with a hypersensitivity, are well looked after.
In order to gauge the effectiveness of allergen training it should always include the mantra that it is everybody’s responsibility, like health and safety, and staff should be empowered to never second guess, ask a colleague and never mislead a customer.
With an ever-growing population of customers with coeliac disease, allergic or intolerant to some ingredients, it is always in the organisations best interests to get this right. So jump back to point one and consider – let’s get EVERYONE trained!
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