Food Hygiene in Early Years Settings: A Guide

A child drinks milk. Proper food hygiene in early years settings is vital to his safety,

Being conscious of food hygiene in early years settings is part of your legal responsibility regarding children under 5 in your care. Fortunately, proper food hygiene training will help you successfully fulfil this requirement. This responsibility will likely be part of your job description if you are one of the below:

  • Nursery Assistants
  • Childminders
  • Nannies
  • Babysitting services
  • Playgroups
  • Nursery Nurses
  • Early Years Practitioners
  • Children’s Centre staff
  • And many more…

Often, if you are inspected by governing bodies such as Ofsted, you are likely to be legally required to show evidence of food hygiene training. However, if you’re unsure, you can always check with your line manager or the local authority. Alternatively, why not use our handy “Which course do I need?” flow chart?

What can I learn from an Early Years Food Hygiene training course?

In a verifiable course such as our Level 2 Early Years Food Hygiene Training, you will learn the following:

  • What food hygiene entails and how you can apply it to your daily practice
  • The most common food hazards and how to prevent them in your kitchen
  • Common food allergies and how to keep children safe if they have one
  • The importance of good personal hygiene when around food or food preparation areas
  • Professional cleaning and disinfection methods you should be using in your kitchen
  • What food poisoning is, including real examples, and how to prevent it
  • How to stop pests from entering your kitchen/premises
  • The various food safety laws and legislation which apply to individuals working with food in the Early Years

Where can I get Early Years food hygiene training?

Childcare professionals across the UK are increasingly switching to online training.

Primarily, it’s far more flexible. Our courses are accessible 24/7 from any device with an internet connection. In addition, you can pause and restart your course as many times as you need to, so it’s great for busy schedules. We know how easy it is to get distracted from important tasks when you work with young ones! You’ll also have immediate access to the course and the certificate once you’re finished.

Furthermore, with our unique online learning management system, you’ll never get caught with an expired certificate again. It will send you an automatic reminder when your certificate is due to expire. So, simply press one button and refresh your training.

5 Cross-contamination safety tips for Early Years providers

Few early years and childcare environments employ professional kitchen staff. Mostly this is because it is simply not financially viable to do so. Introducing some simple changes could reduce risk. Here are five easy to implement and monitor methods of control.

  1. Know your safe storage. A working kitchen will have very clear storage rules for walk in refrigeration and other food storage areas. This can be scaled down to domestic equipment very easily. The obvious one is dripping meat and contact contamination where bacteria rich juices spread contamination to other foods. Fresh meat goes in the bottom of the fridge and it cannot be mixed with other food stuffs at all.
  2. If in doubt – wash the food. When you buy a pack of pre-packed crispy, healthy looking green leaves or see that ripe, juicy strawberry fresh from the garden, they may not be as good for as they look. Raw, leafy green vegetables are a major cause of food poisoning and just because it looks clean doesn’t mean it is. Unless food is marked ‘ready to eat’ assume it isn’t and wash it.
  3. Check the ingredients and lunchboxes. Allergens are clearly marked so remember to check your ingredients carefully. Pre-made sauces and baked goods often contain allergens and it is very easy to overlook them. A 3 year old with a nut allergy will not think twice about sharing the food of the child next to them.
  4. Clean and clean again. There is a simple rule to be followed here. If in any doubt clean it before you use it. Cross contamination from utensils, work surfaces and so on can be avoided if you are in the habit of cleaning as needed.
  5. Have separate boards and utensils. This is a simple, easy to maintain, rule that will dramatically reduce the potential for cross contamination. For example, a series of coloured boards, red for raw meat and so on, works wonders because it simply removes the opportunity for contamination.

How often do I need to take Early Years food hygiene training?

Like all essential training, your Early Years food hygiene training certificate will come with an expiry date. However, this will vary depending on the training provider, so always check before you purchase a course. Our certificates expire after 2 years.

Why do Early Years food hygiene training certificates expire?

Your Early Years Food Hygiene training needs to be refreshed regularly to ensure that you’re up to date with your knowledge of the subject. This will help you to keep the children you work with as safe as possible from food-related illness or harm. Furthermore, legal guidance on food hygiene in early years settings changes frequently. Fortunately, we update our courses throughout the year to include the most recent information.

Do I need Food Hygiene training to work with children aged over 5?

Depending on your role and the type of environment you work in, you may well need to have food hygiene training if you handle, prepare, or serve food to children over the age of 5. So, we recommend confirming this with your line manager, local authority, or the professional body responsible for inspecting your premises.

Got a question about Early Years food hygiene training?

For more information about online Early Years Food Hygiene training, please call us on 01327 552136 or email us at Alternatively, you can chat to us anytime by using the live chat feature available on this website during office hours.

Our offices are open from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.