Food safety officers

Qualifying as a food safety officer

Our qualifications will help you gain everything you need to work in food hygiene, fitness and standards.

Food safety officers ensure that the food we eat is safe and what it says it is. They provide assurance along the food chain from farm to fork.

Working in food safety needs a combination of knowledge and practical skills.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing food safety regulations and their officers can inspect businesses at any point in the food production and distribution process.

Many businesses also employ their own staff to ensure that they are complying with the law and operating at a high standard.

The Food Law Codes of Practice (FLCoP) give instructions that local authorities in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland must consider when enforcing food law.

Our food safety qualifications will help you to gain everything you need to work as a food safety officer. They are recognised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as qualifications needed for work in relation to the FLCoP.

Frequently asked questions

More information for existing candidates, employers and people interested in becoming food safety officers is in our FAQ document.

The Higher Certificate in Food Control is the industry standard qualification for food inspectors and auditors and is recognised by both CIEH and the FSA.

To gain the certificate you will need to undertake an academic course at one of our providers. This can include our accredited BSc and MSc environmental health degrees and apprenticeships as well as the standalone courses offered by:

University of Birmingham
Course leader: Ms Madeline Smith
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Coventry University
Course leader: Lisa Winnall
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You will also need to demonstrate the application of the knowledge you have gained on the course in a workplace setting. The process for doing this is the Competency Development Portfolio and Professional Discussion and more details of these are provided below.

We also accredit the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection qualification at NESCOT.

Candidates who wish to register or submit the logbook for either the Higher Certificate in Food Control or Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection should contact us. This also applies for people who are pursuing the logbook route who wish to sit their professional interview.

The Advanced Professional Certificate in Food Hygiene and Standards Control (APC-Food) is our new qualification for those providing assurance that our food is safe and is what it says it is, including those delivering food official controls. It will be available from September 2020.

APC-Food builds on and modernises the Higher Certificate in Food Control. Suitable for those working in the public and private sector, it includes food safety and food standards material, enabling a holistic approach to assessing food business compliance.

To gain this certificate you will need to undertake an academic course at one of our accredited providers. We will publish details of these soon and expect them to include our accredited BSc and MSc degrees, as well as standalone courses.

You will also need to demonstrate the application of the knowledge you have gained on the course in a workplace setting. The process for doing this is the Competency Development Portfolio and Professional Discussion and more details of these are provided below.

The Competency Development Portfolio (CDP) is your opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have gained on your accredited course in practice in a workplace setting.

The CDP consists of three case studies, two investigation reports and two short narratives, undertaken over a six-month period.

While completing your CDP you will need to be supported by a workplace supervisor assigned by your employer.

The CDP will be signed off by your employer and then submitted to CIEH and used as the basis for your Professional Discussion.

The registration fee for the CDP is £650 during 2020. This also includes the cost of the Professional Discussion and certification. (Candidates can register for the CDP and the Chartered Practitioner Programme at the same time for £1600 in 2020. This is a saving of £200).

Further information:

The Professional Discussion (PD) is the final gateway assessment for both the HCFC and APC-Food.

It is a face-to-face conversation (which could be conducted by video conference) about your Competency Development Portfolio and related issues.

Successful candidates will be awarded the Higher Certificate in Food Control or Advanced Professional Certificate in Food Hygiene and Standards Control as appropriate. Holders of these certificates can be authorised by their employers to deliver official controls. We will keep a Register of practitioners who qualify via these routes.

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New Chartered Practitioner programme

This route is designed to develop highly competent professionals able to protect the health and wellbeing of people and communities.

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