UK's largest provider of food hygiene certificates

Food Hygiene Regulations - your legal responsibilities

This course is aimed at anyone working in catering or hospitality whether employed or self employed, working in restaurants, hotels, fast food outlets, takeaways, cafes, bars, kitchens, catering in hospitals, schools and colleges. As a business owner or food handler, you have a duty to comply with the provisions of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 of the European Parliament on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs, the Food Safety Act 1990, Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2005.

Those requirements state that:

  • Food handlers must be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters relevant to their work.
  • The person responsible for developing and maintaining food safety procedures must be trained in the application of HACCP principles.


Online food hygiene training is an accepted way of complying with the law; and here at Virtual College we have trained over 90,000 food handlers since we launched our online food hygiene training in July 2005. On successful completion of the course we will post out a high quality certificate which can be shown to the Environmental Health Officer as evidence of training.

To quote the food standards agency :

"There is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course or get a qualification, although many businesses may want their staff to do so. The necessary skills may also be obtained in other ways, such as through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience."

How long does a food hygiene certificate last

There is no set time in law for how long a certificate lasts. However, generally accepted good practice within the industry is that certificates should be renewed every three years.

Please note that some employers, including the NHS, require certificates to be renewed every year.

Further Information

The best source of information is generally your local authority's website, but the links below may also prove useful: