The Register of Food Safety Professionals aims to deliver an easily recognisable and trusted assurance scheme. The accreditation will ensure employees have the competence, knowledge and skills to deliver safe food from farm to fork, said the IFST.
For employees, or prospective employees, the standard will accredit employers who have reached recognised professional food safety standards.
The scheme offers a four-level professional structure, based on combinations of academic qualifications and experience. Those working in food safety are invited to apply for recognition in one of the four categories: technician, practitioner, manager and principal under a progess of continuous professional development.
As an independent body, IFST is in the prime position to offer accreditation and recognise food safety professionals in all aspects of food safety, it claimed.
Widespread industry support
The Register of Food Safety Professionals has won widespread industry support.
Professor Chris Elliott, director of the Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast, said the scheme would make an important contribution to food safety. “The food industry is of huge importance to the UK in terms of supplying our citizens with safe, wholesome and authentic food and also as an employer of nearly 4M people,” said Elliott, who wrote the Elliott Review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks.
“The need for a highly skilled, well trained workforce has never been greater. I very much welcome and support the excellent initiative to develop a professional registration scheme which will acknowledge the wealth of professional knowledge, skills and competencies that exist within our food industry.”
‘Critical to the continued success’
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) agreed that the new accreditation would help to re-enforce confidence in food standards. Barbara Gallani, FDF director of the regulatory, science and health division, said: “FDF and its members recognise the importance of knowledgeable, experienced and committed people in delivering safe, nutritious and delicious food. Training initiatives and professional development of employees are critical to the continued success of the industry.
“The IFST Register for Food Safety Professionals is another tool available to companies to highlight the importance of personnel in food safety roles and ultimately help to enhance their professional development.”
Catherine Brown, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, praised the IFST’s contribution to food safety standards and also welcomed the new accreditation scheme. Speaking at the launch of the register at the House of Lords on Wednesday (July 2), Brown said: “The IFST has made a signal contribution to a good deal of progress on food safety.
“We welcome the Institute of Food Science & Technology’s register of food industry professionals. The public is hungry for evidence-based advice on food safety.”
Meanwhile, Gallani took part in an obesity webinar – backed by the IFST – yesterday (July 3). Listen to the free, one-hour independent online seminar here.