Are you getting the right “accredited” training to meet the requirements of R638?

By Wouter Conradie of NSF on 28 October 2019

By now you should know that R638, REGULATIONS GOVERNING GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, a regulation under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, (ACT NO. 54 OF 1972) requires the person in charge to be suitably qualified or otherwise adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene, as appropriate, and that the training is accredited or conducted by an inspector, where applicable.


So, what is “accredited”?

What is the requirement for this training?

What will be fit for purpose and ensure the person in charge is “suitably qualified”?


In order to answer these questions, we need to understand several aspects about the particular person in charge? If you are the person in charge reading this article, then there are also some important questions you should be asking the training provider BEFORE you go on your selected training.


Questions about your training programme include:


1. What is the kind of food premises?

The training provided must adequately address the risks posed by the product and the processes of the food business? It is very important that the training course you attend equip you with the relevant knowledge for your environment. Examples used should be in your context.


2. What is your current level of knowledge?

The level of the information you are trained on is critical as the intention of this legal requirement is surely to ensure you are adequately qualified. So, what should the level be? If you have a current qualification, is this qualification related to food and food handling? If you are a food technologist, do you NEED to be trained? According to the regulation, it is your personal responsibility to be suitably qualified – can you defend your current level of knowledge and skill about FOOD SAFETY?


What about a qualified chef? What about a qualified baker?


3. When were you trained?

If you have a qualification  - when did you obtain this? Your current knowledge is very important but refresher training is always a good idea, but you do want value for money. You should consider this is your training is more than 5 years old.


4. What is the level of training offered?

As there is no definition of “accreditation” within the regulation, there are several options being offered. You should consider these and select the most appropriate for YOUR needs given that this is your personal legal responsibility. SETA accredited training is an option but what is the intended level of this training? As a person in charge, someone with managerial responsibilities and the criminal liability for non-compliance, you need to ensure you are adequately equipped with the correct level of information by a suitable technical expert.


5. What is the level of the trainer? 

It is important that the training provides value to the person in charge. The trainer is a critical part of this process and you should ask questions about this person’s experience and qualifications.



5 more questions you should ask a training provider

Because the law is unclear about what accreditation means, it is critical that you select a provider that is reputable. “Accredited” means officially recognised or authorised according to the dictionary. In the context of auditing or testing which is often how we use it, accredited means certified competent to perform the service.


In the context of this kind of training you can should ask the training company some important questions:

  1. How do you measure the effectiveness of your training processes including development, administration and support?
  2. How do you ensure regular performance evaluations of instructors and those involved in material development to ensure they are competent?
  3. Have you conducted a formal needs analysis for this training and developed a programme that is fit for purpose to match my needs?
  4. Do you have a process for analyzing learning event evaluation results are incorporated into continuous process improvement for the specific learning event and future learning events?
  5. Do you ensure that training is planned and structured to meet adult learning requirements?


By using a training provider with professional accreditation such as International Association for Continuing Education and Training would ensure your training provider can positively answer these questions. This organisation, IACET,  is the caretaker of the CEU – the Continuing Education Unit. The CEU was created and defined in 1970 after IACET and the U.S. Department of Education task force studied the measurement of non-credit bearing continuing education activities. The continuing education unit (CEU) was designed to:

  • Provide a standard unit of measurement for continuing education and training,
  • Quantify continuing education and training (CE/T) activities, and
  • Accommodate for the diversity of providers, activities, and purposes in adult education.

IACET accredits providers who present training that is aligned to ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard for Continuing Education and Training and thus accredited training for individuals who already have a qualification. In order to comply, a training provider seeking accreditation would be required to demonstrate they meet the requirements of this standard which include the questions above. The process of accreditation will include an audit of the training provider to ensure all the relevant systems are in place to ensure training meets the learners’ needs and that the training processes are effectively controlled to ensure customer satisfaction at all levels.


For more information on IACET accredited training courses, please contact Wouter Conradie at or check out our training catalogue on


Wouter Conradie