Food Safety and Hygiene
Honey, and honey products such as mead, are foodstuffs. Any person who processes food is required by law to ensure that it is safe to eat or drink.
If the food stuffs being prepared are only for community and charity events or on a small scale and occasional basis, it is not necessary to register as a food business. However, you should still be aware of food safety and hygiene requirements. Recently event organisers have been asking stall holders to demonstrate that they are aware of the appropriate standards.
Rather than be caught out, it is recommended that beekeepers obtain the appropriate Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate.
Food Safety and Hygiene Certificates
There are three levels:
- Level 1 is for those who perform ‘low risk’ tasks such as clearing tables, maintaining stores, ‘meals on wheels’ and other such similar duties.
- Level 2 is for those who require a knowledge and understanding of the importance of food hygiene, associated food safety hazards, good hygiene practice and controls based upon an awareness of food safety management systems, i.e those involved in processing food.
- Level 3 is for those who supervise staff in the preparation of food.
The appropriate certificate for beekeepers who process honey, etc, is Level 2.
Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate Level 2
The course can be done online or at an approved centre. There are seven sections:
- Food safety and the law
- Preparing food safely
- Storing food safely
- Food poisoning and contamination
- Hazards and allergies
- Personal hygiene
- Food premises
At the end of the course you sit a test consisting of 30 multiple choice questions. The pass mark is 75%. All those who pass will be sent a certificate. The qualification is valid for 3 years.
Online or Approved Centre
Online courses are run by numerous organisations and range in price from £10 to £30. It is best to choose one that is recognised by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) or City and Guilds. RSPH also has a list of accredited centres, which includes Any Body Can Cook, based in Warminster and run by Catherine Maxwell. This may be more expensive, but done on a group basis is an excellent way to obtain the qualification.
Do shop around.