Language as a barrier in food safety training

When people ask if I speak other languages, I say, sure, I speak Canadian and American.

But from my WASPy roots I’ve grown to appreciate the role different languages have in making a global citizen. I took the lazy solution and travel with someone who knows languages.

In Dubai, more than 60 per cent of food workers in the capital who took hygiene training courses last year failed them, many because of language barriers.

Sure, most food safety training sucks, trying to make HACCP experts or microbiology geeks out of line cooks, but language can be a huge barrier. That’s why we have food safety infosheets in French, Spanish and Portuguese. We can do a bunch of other languages if someone wants them.

Stephen Pakenham-Walsh, a food-service consultant based in Abu Dhabi said relying on English was “short-sighted” on the part of food tutors.

Indians make up 65 per cent of the food industry workforce. Other Asian nationalities comprise 20 per cent of workers, with Arabs making up 12 per cent. The results indicate that the large majority of workers are not getting effective hygiene training.