Offered by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (RSPH), the qualifications have been devised following an initiative by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council. "It is extraordinary that until now there have been so few food-safety qualifications specifically for manufacturing widely available," said Derek Williams, development director at Improve. "Existing food-safety qualifications were often tailored more towards those working in the catering and service industries, and didn't meet manufacturing needs."
The new qualifications are based upon the new Food Safety National Occupational Standards, which Improve developed after consultation with food and drink manufacturing employers. Offering flexible learning opportunities the standards are both stand-alone qualifications but also contribute to achievement of food safety modules of more extensive qualifications like NVQs and SVQs.
Dr Richard Burton from RSPH commented: "We're pleased to be working with Improve and other awarding bodies to make food safety qualifications more widely available and ensure they're relevant for employers. The new qualifications from RSPH are available at three levels - level two, which delivers operational knowledge, level three, in food safety supervision, and level four, in food safety management. The level two award replaces our Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene, which was geared towards manufacturing."
It is hoped the qualifications will make it easier for employers to meet their responsibilities under the new European Union Food Safety regulations, which came into effect at the start of 2006. They are also relevant for general manufacturing employees who may have to spend time working in a food and drink environment.