Case Study: Verner Wheelock trains 1000th employee for Heinz

Production Engineer, David Owen, has become the 1000th Heinz employee to receive the Heinz Foundation Food Safety Award from food industry training experts, Verner Wheelock Associates.

The milestone marks a relationship between the companies which began in 2005 when VWA were commissioned by HJ Heinz to write a bespoke Basic Food Safety course for employees at their Kitt Green factory in Wigan. The plant is the largest canning factory in Europe and Heinz’s largest food factory worldwide, producing more than 1 billion cans of beans, soups and pasta meals every year.

Trainer Paul Bache presents David Owen with his certificate

VWA worked closely with Heinz management and technical teams to develop the course, which follows the RSPH Level 2 Award in Food Safety syllabus, but has been tailored to meet the requirements of the Wigan site. The bespoke elements include food safety issues relating to the canning process, best practice to safeguard the Heinz brand and its customers, practical sessions using real-life customer complaints and a factory tour where delegates are encouraged to identify food safety hazards for discussion.

Since formal training began in 2006, Heinz customer complaints have reduced significantly and overall standards of food hygiene in the factory have improved. The course is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to take account of changes in legislation or on-site procedures. In addition, refresher courses are provided to ensure that all staff training remains up-to-date. This focus on continuous staff training underlines Heinz’s commitment to compliance with the Food Hygiene Regulations and the promotion of a positive food safety culture on site.

Training sessions are scheduled to ensure minimum disruption to production. This means VWA staff provide training during evening and night shifts as well as during regular hours. The training sessions are delivered on-site to up to 15 employees at a time, including food operatives, engineers and managers. Each 7 hour course includes PowerPoint presentations interspersed with practical exercises, discussions and the factory tour. The course culminates in a multiple choice examination.

VWA’s Managing Director, Alison Wheelock, commented: “Heinz is one of the world’s best-loved brands. We’re delighted that we are continuing to provide world-class food safety training to their employees, which meets legislation and takes account of their individual company needs.”

If you would like to discuss your training requirements please call 01756 700802 or email

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