Abdul Rashid Director and General Manager of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health gives us an insight into the recently launched Person In Charge scheme for F&B outlets
Since its launch, how is the PIC scheme having an effect on F&B outlets, specifically those ones in hotels?
Abdul Rashid: There is more focus on food safety in F&B outlets since the implementation of the PIC programme. In the past the Hygiene Manager had sole responsibility for food safety in hotels, although the Hygiene Manager still has overall responsibility, he is adequately supported by key supervisory staff i.e. trained PIC’s within individual outlets.
How is the CIEH involved?
The CIEH is an Awarding Body and is the global leader in the provision of vocational qualifications for businesses around the world. In Dubai, the CIEH is accredited by the Dubai Accreditation Centre (DAC) to ISO 17024 enabling us to provides PIC Level 2 and PIC Level 3 programmes through its registered training centres. This assists food businesses to meet Dubai Municipality regulatory requirements related to Food Safety and PIC training programmes. In addition the CIEH supports Municipal authorities by providing expert input assisting and supporting the development of food safety, health & safety and environmental strategy and policy matters.
How long does it take to train a Person In Charge?
AR: There are two Person in Charge (PIC) training programmes, PIC Level 2 which is a two day training programme and PIC Level 3 which is a three day training program. There is a multiple choice examination which concludes the training sessions, successful candidates are awarded the CIEH PIC Level 2 or PIC Level 3 certificate which has a validity of five years, based on municipal stipulations.
What extra expenditure does it cost hotels?
AR: There is an additional investment which the hotel will need to make, this would involve covering the fees of participants who attend the PIC Level 2 and PIC Level 3 training courses. These fees are set by Dubai Municipality approved consultancy and training companies and are determined by market factors based on supply and demand.
For a busy five star hotel with a few different restaurants, how many people would they have to have trained under this scheme?
AR: The specific requirements of the PIC scheme, including the number of PIC’s required for businesses, including outlets in five star hotels are set in the PIC Guidance document issued by Dubai Municipality. As a general rule of thumb, at least one trained PIC is required to be present whenever the food outlet is open for business.
What’s new under this scheme that didn’t exist before?
The key difference with the PIC scheme and ‘traditional’ food safety training schemes, is that the PIC programme focuses on actively managing food safety risks that may arise in an operational environment. In addition to providing theoretical knowledge based on food safety principles, the PIC scheme focuses on how to apply this knowledge in a working environment to control critical elements of risk, implement corrective actions and apply preventative measures.