Food safety certification is a restaurant-wide certification process that is specific to each individual restaurant. There are companies that send representatives to a restaurant seeking certification and retrain staff and owners how to safely handle and prepare food in that establishment. Even though it is not required, many restaurant owners choose to have their establishments certified in order to increase the safety of the food being prepared.
The Benefits of Food Safety Certification
Food safety certification has benefits for both the customers and restaurant owners.
- Peace of mind for customers. Any type of certificate that says "Food Safety Certified" or "HACCP Certified" tells customers that a particular restaurant has gone the extra mile to assure the food they are serving is safe.
- Better record keeping for managers. During the food safety training and certification process, managers and employees are given stepwise processes for implementing and recording safe food handling practices in the kitchen. The records assure managers that all employees are following the certification guidelines.
- Better health inspection results. With a restaurant-specific certification program in place, restaurants should be able to score near-perfect on health inspections since any certification puts processes in place that go above and beyond local health codes. The aforementioned records also allow managers to better demonstrate to health inspectors that food safety processes are being followed.
2 Types of Restaurant Food Safety Certifications
For commercial kitchens, there are two main food safety certifications, HACCP and ISO 22000.
HACCP Certification. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and is a food safety certification process first developed by NASA. It is only recognized in the U.S. HACCP is a proactive approach to food safety that has food operators look at their establishment and identify potential risks to food safety, putting processes into place to eliminate potential food-safety threats. » Learn More about HACCP
ISO 22000:2005. ISO Standard 22000:2005 is based off HACCP procedures but requires more in-depth record keeping and training and is an internationally-recognized standard. It defines all of the food safety management practices that need to be in place all along the supply chain.
ISO Defined: ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. The organization designs processes that businesses, of any type, all across the globe can implement for better, safer operation.
Obtaining Food Safety Certification
Even though most restaurants already employ bits and pieces of HACCP or ISO procedures, obtaining certification involves more in-depth training for managers and staff to assure that every aspect of the program is followed correctly.
HACCP Training Online. The HACCP Certification Training website is the best place to start if you want to achieve HACCP Certification online. A local culinary school is another place go for traditional coursework.
ISO 22000 Training. There is an entire website dedicated to ISO 22000 training for food service establishments.
As with anything food safety related, restaurant operators should talk to their local health department. The health department can either point operators towards local schools that offer certification training, or the health department itself may offer the type of in-depth training food safety certification requires.
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