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Starting a Food Business from Home

Starting a Food Business from Home

Starting a food business from home can be a rewarding business venture. However, it is only for those committed to maintaining the highest level of hygiene and food safety. Producing food in your home for many people to eat is a serious undertaking. It is not the same as cooking for the family! You will be entering into a highly regulated business area with serious legal obligations. Food business operators are legally responsible for producing food that is safe.

 

Food Hygiene Legislation

Operating a food business from home does not exempt your business from the requirements of the food hygiene legislation (Regulation EC 852/2004). This legislation sets out requirements for:

Where food of animal origin, e.g. meat, poultry, eggs, fish, unpasteurised milk, is being processed, you may also need to comply with the legislation setting down specific hygiene rules for foods of animal origin (Regulation 853/2004). In some cases, the business may require approval by the HSE.

You should contact your local HSE office as soon as possible to check if your home is suitable for the intended food business activities. Contact details for local HSE offices are available HERE (Contact details if you’ve made a complaint about a food business and want to follow it up with the local food inspector, or if you need to register your business).

 

Additional Legislation

Compliance with additional legislation may be required depending on the type of product which you intend to make, e.g. labelling, additives, marketing standards for eggs, nutrition and health claims etc.

Full details of all food legislation can be found on FSAI website page Food Legislation.

 

Possible Pitfalls when Operating a Food Business from Home

Starting a food business from home can present specific problems that you should be aware of.

1) Food can become contaminated due to:
2) Production of too much food for the size of the area.
3) Insufficient/unsuitable refrigerator space to keep food chilled.
4) Lack of equipment necessary to cool food fast enough after cooking.
5) The type of food being produced or the process involved presents too high a risk to take place safely in a domestic kitchen.
6) Food may be supplied to a vulnerable group, e.g. babies and young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

 

Food Labelling

Food which is prepacked by the manufacturer before being brought for sale at a farmers market or other food stall is subject to the full labelling rules. All of the mandatory information, must then appear on the product label. More information on what is required to be declared on the label is available in FSAI factsheet Food Information for Consumers at Markets Operated by Country Markets Limited. These rules also apply where it is intended to sell your produce in local retail premises.

 

Additional food safety related useful information can be found on FSAI website.

 

Please remember – it is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Food Safety (HACCP) courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

Online Health and Safety Training and its Benefits

Online Health and Safety training offers a strong return on investment for employers and a quick way to get employees up to date with workplace safety. Online courses are also tailored to specific areas of workplace safety. They can ensure employees are getting the exact information they need to do their job safely. In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits of online training for workplace safety.

 

The Importance of Online Training for Workplace Safety

Studies show online education is growing by 5-10% each year as more and more employers move their training methods online. According to the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) there was a sharp increase in the use of education portals/websites during COVID-19 with over one fifth (21%) Communicating with instructors or students using educational websites/portals, an increase of seven percentage points in 2019. These numbers remain high even after the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise of digital technology in all areas of our lives this trend is far from declining.

Online Health and Safety training is a convenient way for staff to learn about their safety in the workplace. It removes many constraints which often hinder classroom training. This type of training is also very specific. It usually focuses on the precise lessons needed to stay safe in the workplace. From food handling and fire safety to workplace stress and working at heights, such online courses are always relevant to the workplace and ensure employers are abiding by certain laws and regulations.

Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of online training.

 

7 Key Benefits of Online Training for Workplace Safety

1. Online Training Draws from High Quality Resources

Online training usually draws inspiration from the best interactive experiences online and incorporate these learnings into an online course. As a result, online training can sometimes include video conferencing or webinars and other opportunities which enable staff to engage remotely. Simply put, this consistent high quality and extent of resources is rarely guaranteed in the classroom.

2. Learning Practical Skills for Real World Experience

Employees develop soft skills through online training and practical lessons which they can put into practice at work. These lessons often come from real experience which can feel more relevant than the theory which you might hear about in a classroom. Online courses also use simulations, scenarios and multiple choice questions to ensure these lessons are always relevant to real world scenarios. This also highlights the objective of online training – to give employee the exact education they need to know to do their job safely.

3. Employees Often Retain More through Online Training

Research shows how many employees are likely to forget what they learn in the classroom. It makes sense when you think back to school days and just how little algebra or poetry you might remember! Memory retention is boosted by relevant experiences which can be applied straight away. With this in mind, online training is often split into areas of knowledge and structured to increase relevancy. This increased relevancy means employees will more likely learn and recall the contents of an online course than they might in a classroom.

4. Online Courses Can Be Scheduled for Any Time/Place

Standard classroom training is always set at a specific time but co-ordinating this time is near impossible in such a fast-moving world. There is also a time loss for going to and from a classroom. Many employees are likely to feel restricted in a classroom environment. Online training can take place at any time and enables employees to undergo the training at their own pace. It’s a win-win situation for both employers and employees. In addition, it also removes the requirement for having a classroom to facilitate the training.

5. Immediate Access to Support and Resources

Online training provides immediate access to a large number of resources which allows them to find answers at the time of learning. Classroom training takes place in a specific location where employees are most often unable to access training resources in real time. This means employees don’t need to wait until the next class to ask questions and can address any immediate challenges or concerns before moving on with the training. Online training can use forums or social media groups to provide extra support and provide employees with a place whether they can share tips or ask questions.

6. Online Training is Designed for Different Learning Preferences

Every audience consists of different people with varying abilities and backgrounds. However, more recent generations have become accustomed to smart technology and the online world. These employees are also likely to have acquired skills through Google, YouTube and apps in the past and appreciate this method of learning. This is why the rate of attention and engagement with online training is often said to be higher than a classroom. Online training is designed to cater to all learning preferences.

7. High Levels of Engagement and Responsibility

Some online training courses are gamified which means they feature levels, rewards and certain mechanics which encourage progress. These courses seek to encourage the learner to progress and keep going until they complete each lesson. They can also monitor performance along the way and feel more invested or responsible for participating in the course. It is this high engagement which should be attractive to employers and the fact they can outsource this time consuming process to a trusted online training platform.

 

Working with a training company

Working with an online training platform can help employers lighten the load and allow the experts to take care of the training. However, it’s important to choose a platform which abides by laws and regulations and incorporates these requirements into the online training. For instance, MyElearnSafety offer courses online health and safety training for Food Safety which adhere to the principles of the internationally recognised Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). It also offers Fire Safety Awareness, Manual Handling Awareness, Paediatric First Aid just to name a few.

Check out MyElearnSafety today and we can get everyone up to speed on their workplace safety!

Fire Safety and Why is it Important

Research suggests that most fires are preventable and unsafe human behaviour is most often the cause of these fires. This is why employees should be encouraged to take responsibility and adopt practices which help prevent fire in the workplace. Fire safety is also enforced and employers are required to prepare plans and procedures to protect against the associated risks. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is proactive in monitoring how employers manage these risks and what they do to protect the health and safety of the public.

In this article, we provide some general information about fire safety and the practices which help protect against the potential damage caused by fire.

 

What is Fire Safety?

Fire safety is a set of measures which reduce the potential damage caused by fire. There are four common fire safety principles which are recognised around the world:

 

However, there are three key actions which employees should know about that need to be taken in the event of a fire:

 

Let’s take a look at the key elements which enable a fire to start and spread.

 

The 3 Key Elements which Enable Fires Start and Spread

Heat, fuel and oxygen complete the fire prevention triangle which explains how fires can start and spread. Fire needs all three of these elements to thrive and this is why removing one of these three can prevent a fire. This is also why a risk assessment needs to report on three different elements and consider how these elements might contribute to potential fire hazards in the workplace.

 

Heat

Heat is often generated through machines, systems and processes. Cooking is an obvious example in which heat is near constant and needs to be kept away from fuel. Let’s look at some examples of how employers can manage heat:

 

Oxygen

Oxygen is often used in manufacturing and creative processes. For example, oxygen gas is used for food packaging and food preservation. It is also used in flame cutting and welding and within decompression chambers as part of medical treatment. Pure oxygen can react fiercely with materials including rubber and textiles and then also the likes of grease and oil. In short, the presence of this oxygen makes it easier for a fire to start and grow and spread.

 

Fuel

Some workplaces will have more flammable materials than others and these environments can present a much greater fire hazard. Fuel essentially contains flammable material which burns naturally in a standard atmosphere. These flammable materials need to be clearly labelled. In addition, great care should be taken when handling or moving these flammable materials.

 

Establishing Fire Safety Principles in the Workplace

The Health and Safety Authority in Ireland enforces an act which holds employers responsible for educating staff about these principles. Employees must therefore know these practices and be able to put them into practice in the event of a fire. There is also a requirement for employers to appoint a competent person to this role who properly understands the risks, practices and tasks that relate to fire safety.

“Competent” implies this person must be able to demonstrate their knowledge and ability but this appointment does not mean the responsibility of fire safety is out of the hands of the employer. Employers must do everything reasonably possible to ensure their staff are not exposed to the risks associated with fire safety. For instance, employers must also ensure there is safe access, emergency exits and no unsafe substances or articles in the environment.

In case you might be asking yourself, action is taken whenever deemed necessary and government statistics show the number of fire safety notices issued by the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland. Safety notices can be costly for employers but they also point to a moral concern which suggests the business is simply not doing enough to protect the safety of employees and members of the public.

 

Employers Responsibility for Fire Safety in the Workplace

According to the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland, employers must not only train and educate employees about fire safety but also carry out regular risk assessments to ensure these measures are understood. This involves checking that all staff have sufficient knowledge, training and supervision to protect against the dangers of fire and then record the findings from this assessment in a Safety Statement. Employers are therefore required to provide relevant fire safety courses for their employees and produce certificates of completion in the event of an inspection by the authorities.

 

Final Thoughts

Fire safety is extremely important and an area which employers cannot ignore for both moral and legal reasons. Fire poses a serious threat to the safety of employees and members of the public and the Health and Safety Authority will issue notices to any business that falls short of the requirements. Employers should make every effort to abide by the law and assess risks and provide access to training which informs on the importance of fire safety.

 

Please Note – The Fire Services Act 1981-2003 specifies that it shall be the duty of every persons having control of premises (i.e. owner or occupier) to ensure the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire whether such an outbreak has occurred or not.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Fire Safety Awareness courses. The eLearn fire safety awareness course is designed to help employers meet their legal requirement to provide information and training to staff regarding specific hazards. Fire safety is an essential part of any safety management system. The course, along with regular fire drills, will help ensure regulatory compliance.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

Safe Food Preparation Tips

Every person working in a food-handling industry must maintain a high level of safe food handling. This article is going to provide some basic safe food preparation tips.

The primary objective of the hygiene rules is to ensure a high level of food safety to protect customers. It covers the activities carried out by food service outlets that prepare and sell food to be consumed directly by customers or wrapped and pre-packaged before they are sold.

You can prevent the spread of food poisoning bacteria through good food handling practices and by maintaining good personal hygiene.

 

Burning Hot Tips

 

Ice Cold Tips

 

Good Safe Food Handling Practices

 

Good Personal Hygiene

Good personal hygiene is one of the most important practices to ensure safe food.

Adherence to these safe food practices is essential in any food safety business. However, there is no reason why safe food handling should not be practiced in your home as well. SefeFood has some additional advices for kitchen hygiene and food safety for domestic kitchens.

 

Please remember – it is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Food Safety (HACCP) courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie