Albert Amgar: Mandatory training in food service?***

Our French colleague Albert writes recently on his blog,

I’m no expert on the commercial and institutional restaurant business, just a simple user.

I’m also not a fan of guides to good practices of which, in my opinion, we shouldn’t expect so much. The guide shouldn’t be a white cane for the blind when it comes to matters of hygiene and food safety. But I also know that some people have been waiting, according to a message published on la liste Hygiène on July 3, 2010, “…for at least 8 years, [for] the probable publication date of the Guide to Good Hygiene Practices for the food services industry.”

As such, le blog HysaConseil from Quebec tells us that, “Mandatory training in hygiene and safety, who does it concern?”

On November 21, 2008, a modification to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Québec’s (MAPAQ) food regulation requires all business owners who are or are not licensed with MAPAQ to undergo training in hygiene and safety. Whenever food handling is done in his/her business, the owner must comply with regulations (convenience stores, pharmacies, bars, bed & breakfasts, butcheries, supermarkets, selling meat on the farm, etc…).

You can refer to the available guide to the application of regulations on MAPAQ’s website for more information on this regulation. All information is found at this site.
At a time when France has launched its Food Operation Holidays (see “
The return of Operation Thunder”), here’s a measure that would be welcome for us! Is this obligation applicable for us? I don’t believe so according to certain reports we see (see “Hygiene in the food service industry”).

In the words of one AFSCA administrator (Belgium), “I currently use the carrot with the subcommittee on language simplification (referred to as cellule de vulgarisation). Now there is a stick behind the door: not only the administrative fines or the temporary closures, but we could also put the results of our inspections on the Internet, clearly online for the consumers.”

Mandatory training, scores or grades on the doors and online inspection results are the answers that Albert suggests to advance food safety in restaurant businesses.