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Yesterday I attended a Food Safety Supervisor course and was blown away when the instructor introduced the topic with:

This is very, very boring. I am telling you now.

Food Safety Training

And I suspect that most people teaching food safety have exactly the same mindset. It is a mindset that is all through management and it is a mindset that is present in those who are handling food.

But as I wrote The Rotten Food Cookbook it dawned on me what the problem is – we are so fixated on the solution that we have lost site of the problem. Food safety has become an end in itself, and not a means to an end.

Food safety isn’t about food safety

Food safety isn’t about food safety, it’s all about food poisoning. It’s about killing babies. It’s about driving the porcelaine bus at 3AM in the morning.

When we stop talking about food safety and start talking about food poisoning then it becomes real. Why don’t we run courses on “10 ways to kill customers” and I bet you people will be paying more attention.

Food safety is an awesome topic.

People need to be shaken before they are taught

The second thing that amazed me about the course yesterday was how hand washing training is covered by a couple of pretty pictures and a quick 2 minute exercise of “go wash your hands”.

In this course it was even better because a interruption resulted in the session running short and the class was asked “Do you want to do the practical exercise? You all know how to wash your hands.”

I sell a product called “Glitterbug” which is used to demonstrate where people are NOT washing their hands. I tell customers to use it BEFORE they do the training, and don’t leave it until afterwards. My reasoning is very simple, if you do it before the training you will fail 98% of people. You have just proven to them that they DON’T know how to wash their hands effectively, and now you have a good chance that they will actually listen.

This simple exercise is enough to shake a person’s belief in their ability.

Food safety training is awesome

Imagine being taught one thing today that will save a person’s life. Interested?

Imagine being shown one thing today that will save the company’s reputation, and as a consequence, your job. Interested?

That’s awesome.

One Response

  1. Just to defend the person who did deliver the training course, I did quote them partially out of context. They did go on to say that they would try to make it as interesting as possible.

    So this blog is in no way a comment on the actual training provided. It just that those two lines reflected common attitudes so well and I couldn’t let them go by.

    My apologies to the presenter for any offense caused by the blog.