Foodsafe Recertification Advice
Anyone in British Columbia with Food Safety Training older than July 29, 2013 will need to recertify if they are continuing to work in the food service industry.
There are four options in British Columbia; one a full face to face Foodsafe Level One course offered by a contract instructor or an education institution, two a full course Foodsafe level one or two online, three a Foodsafe Level One refresher course through Open School, or four a correspondence course from go2.
On line courses can be completed anywhere you have internet access. Local community libraries are often invigilation sites for online courses and all have computer and WIFI access.
If employers and employees have been demonstrating consistent safe food practices in their daily activities, the level one refresher is a good option. This is only available to people who have already been certified in Level One. It basically takes participants through the level one workbook without the added benefit of the videos and an instructor’s expertise. It is an online course which should take about 4 hours and can be started and stopped as often as the participant wants over a ten-day period. The course units, quizzes and final exam are all online and do not require invigilation. The student must achieve 80% to pass the refresher.
The Foodsafe communicate in May stated:
∙ Checking certificate expiration dates Please note that prior to contacting the Health Authority, individuals should visit and try the FOODSAFE Certification and Exam Results widget available on the Ministry of Health Website: https://my.gov.bc.ca/foodsafe/webAppServices?serviceItemID=B3BEE4BB29764296894CDBCFF2E808B0
If they are unable to verify the certificate then they should contact their local Health Authority. Contact information is available at: http://foodsafe.ca/faq.html#haContacts
I suggest a few words of caution. First, ensure the participant follows the link provided by Open School to complete the registration process before proceeding to the course. If they go directly to the Open School Site, they will be able to log in, but not start the course as it will not be loaded yet. It is also a good idea to ensure they take a good look at the navigation guide. For example, if they do not hit submit after each quiz or test question, it will not register as being answered and will not count. Also, ensure there is an adequate connectivity level for the student to access the course.
A benefit of this route is that an employer can purchase several seats in the course and the employee can then complete the course on their own or log in for an hour or so before their shift at work if there is a computer that they have access to at work.
Each individual course is launched when the participant logs in for the first time. Then they have ten days to complete it. This eliminates the need to have a whole staff, or several members of it, training at once and allows an establishment to fully function. It is a somewhat more cost-effective way to ensure your whole team has current certification.
The first drawback that I can see are challenges for either English as a Second Language students or for people with literacy challenges. With no instructor to help interpret the
information, it depends solely on the participants ability to understand what they read. The second point would be the lack of connections that can be developed in a face to face class with discussions. Finally, if they do not pass or complete in the ten days available, there is no refund and they will still need to complete it elsewhere.
The face to face Foodsafe level one is very effective for new employees, and when it is conducted as a contract train it can focus specifically on the needs of the institution that has contracted the trainer. There are vast differences in the knowledge needed between a restaurant, a care home, a grocery store or a temporary market. A contract train will ensure adequate focus is placed on the demands of the specific venue. Most community colleges offer Foodsafe level one once a month.
Online level one has all the videos that accompany a face to face class and has a forum for discussions. It is a viable alternative when there are low numbers of students and a contact train is not easily timetabled, or in fact available in a nearby community.
Business owners and managers need to consider recertifying with their level two as well. Level two can be taken online, or face to face. It is taught approximately once a month at BCIT and a few times a year at other institutes in the Okanogan and the Lower Mainland. It is available in the Kootenays with Wass Education Consulting and with College of the Rockies.
Temporary market vendors who are preparing less hazardous items for market are better advised to take the Market Safe course as it not only focuses on the safety of food preparation, but also gives good advice for transportation, displays and packaging. The summer market season is coming up quickly, so check out availability for training as soon as possible.
Wass Education Consulting is prepared to offer contract courses. Please contact Sharon Wass to discuss cost and book a date and time. Ten working days may be needed to ensure timely delivery of student workbooks.