Developing and implementing an effective food safety training program is essential to any business that deals with food, but it can present some challenges. Some of the challenges Food Safety Market has seen when performing our food safety training in Canada include a lack of uniformity regarding country-wide regulations and legislation, a lack of access to proper training, obligation to completing required courses, and a lack of engagement.
Uniformity in food safety regulations
One of the leading problems faced by food safety trainers around the country is the lack of a uniform national standard for food safety training and education. Each Canadian province currently has its own unique food safety legislation, creating something of a patchwork in the industry. This makes it difficult to create any sort of uniform food safety training program due to the different demands found within provincial legislations - because of this, food service industry workers around the country are having to take courses with varying curriculum and potentially conflicting information. Luckily, the country seems to be moving in the right direction and establishing a national standard for training.
Access to food safety training
Another major issue encountered in food safety training is access to proper food safety training, limiting their options in terms of finding local training and classroom training. Many communities lack the proximity to training, forcing them to forego proper training or having to outsource to solve the problem. Food Safety Market is one of the pioneers of online food safety training classes and seminars, allowing clients around the country to easily access proper formal training and resources.
Other access issues we often encounter include language and literacy access. Canada is a multicultural hub, with citizens speaking a wide variety of languages. Food Safety Market has made its services available in eight languages, but other food service professionals continue to have limited access to training in a language they are most comfortable with. Literacy comes into play as some people can only read and write in their native language, losing much of the vital information in translation. This can be combated through the use of visuals, or combining text and visuals into infographics, which we have successfully used over the years.
Obligations to “compliance training” and engagement
Food safety training is a necessity for those working in the foodservice industry - this can often lead to clients taking courses purely out of obligation. In the industry, this is called “compliance training”, and can lead to people developing a sense of complacency rather than fully absorbing the critical information being given to them and being able to put it into practice. In a sense, training gets stuck in the classroom and trainees see little to no change in their because of this.
Increasing engagement is the best way to change this , typically done by providing trainees with practical tools and benchmarks to show their progress in real time. Supplying clients with things like operating forms and similar tools to track their progress is a hands-on way to increase engagement and actively involve clients. Infographics are another great way to increase engagement, as they provide information in a concise and visually-appealing manner that is easily digestible. Increasing engagement is a great way for clients to get the most return on their investment, and ensure that trainees go beyond just satisfying basic requirements.
By recognizing the challenges that come with proper food safety training, you will be able to be proactive in changing and encouraging participation and engagement of trainees. This maximizes the effectiveness of food safety training, and encourages trainees to get the very most out of their experiences rather than seeing it as an obligation.