No, you do not need a level 2 food hygiene certificate to sell cakes for charity. However, you should still be careful about how you handle ingredients and cook food.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) still recommends following the 4 C’s of good food hygiene, including cleaning, chilling, cooking and preventing cross-contamination. Charity events should also follow the basic food safety procedures, including:
- Washing hands with warm, water and hand sanitiser
- Cleaning surfaces with anti-bacterial spray before and after use
- Not using the same knife for both meat and vegetables
- Storing items in clean boxes or containers
- Throwing contaminated food away immediately
Often cakes are made and sold at charity events, and they will be safe most of the time. When giving them away or selling them, just make sure you follow the above steps and safely transport them to the hall. In addition, avoid using raw egg in things that won’t be cooked (like icing). For cakes with fresh cream, they should be kept in the fridge for as long as possible. On the day of sale, the FSA say that they should only be left out for a maximum of four hours.
So, Who Does Need a Certificate?
A food hygiene level 2 certificate is more reserved for larger organisations selling food for general retail or hospitality. This is because under the European Union regulation 852/2004, all organisations must train their staff appropriately in food hygiene practices.
Organisations also tend to have a large reach, and an outbreak may seriously affect thousands or millions of people. Charity events are usually small-scale, done in local villages amongst a reduced volume of people.
All food handlers need a certificate to be safe at work. These are people that are in contact with food, equipment used in preparation, and items for storage. Hotels, restaurants, schools, bars and cafes all have them. They are directly responsible for the cleanliness and safety of the foodstuffs that they prepare. In addition, a business is responsible for ensuring that employees are sufficiently trained.
Why Organisations Should Get a Certificate
Level 2 food hygiene is a requirement for all organisations who handle food. As such, business can avoid fines and the impacts of them if they comply with EU and UK regulations.
Under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2006, “businesses must identify any food safety hazards… and put control measures in place to prevent problems”. When combined with the EU regulation, one control measure is providing training to employees.
Organisations may face serious consequences if they fail to live up to food hygiene practices. This includes ignoring safe food handling guidelines and lacking appropriate workplace kitchen facilities. Meaning, a business can expect to face a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, or an unlimited fine. They may also need to pay compensation to affected persons. This seriously impacts your business reputation, and the public may stop buying your food.
Now, eLearning courses are widely available at a cheap price. Furthermore, completing a course doesn’t take that much time, considering the benefits of doing it. This means that there are very few reasons for organisations to ignore their duty.
When looking for a course, make sure it comes from a reputable source. You do not want a certificate or a course you paid for, that is invalid. Otherwise, an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) will think twice about accepting it. Because EHOs can plan to inspect a business at any time, you do not want to be caught flat-footed.
An EHO has the power to cease business functions if they feel food is a risk to public health.