PIC Frequently Asked Questions

The below frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been provided by Dubai Municipality Food Control Department; click on each question to view the answer:

1) Who is a Person in Charge?

2) Who does it apply to?

3) Why is a PIC important?

4) How many PICs does each organisation need and what are their training requirements?

5) Who can be a PIC?

6) Are there any minimum qualifications to become a PIC?

7) Does the PIC have to be at the business all the time?

8) When should the establishment appoint the PIC?

9) What if a PIC leaves?

10) What if a PIC changes their details?

11) Is the PIC solely responsible for food safety in a food business?

12) What is a PIC Certificate?

13) What are the main roles of PIC?

14) Where can the PIC get trained?

15) How is the training delivered and how long will it take?

16) Will previous training be recognised?

17) How is PIC training different to general food safety skills and knowledge training?

18) How should the business choose a trainer?




1) Who is a Person in Charge?

The Person in Charge (PIC) in any food establishment will often be the person who has the overall responsibility for running that location during the entire time of operation. If there are multiple shifts, the PIC will be responsible for the proper functioning of the food establishment’s operation for a limited time (the work shift).

The PIC is accountable to their employer and the government for making sure that they and the employees on their shift are following effective policies and procedures for food safety.


Back to the top



2) Who does it apply to?
A PIC is required in all types of food establishments.

Back to the top



3) Why is a PIC important?

Food safety is a critical part of operating a food business. Illnesses resulting from improper food handling and preparation result in unnecessary human suffering and a lot of financial loss. Dubai Municipality (DM) monitors food safety standards and conducts inspections at these food businesses to help prevent problems occurring. From the business perspective, operating a safe, sanitary food establishment can help to prevent illnesses and to make good economic sense. A well run operation, protects public health, reduces food waste, attracts customers and reduces the risk of negative publicity.

Food businesses are one of the key contributors to the Dubai economy and they have a strong reputation for providing safe food to consumers. However, Dubai Municipality has observed food businesses that violate food safety regulations and it is worrying that some businesses do it more often than others and put consumers at risk. According to DM, in such establishments, owner/managerial control of food safety is usually very poor; people in a managerial role are either not trained well or are not involved in enforcing food safety practices in their business. For the success of any type of business, managers play an important role. In the same way, management control is critical to ensuring food safety in a food business and we need well trained managers who can take food safety related decisions correctly and quickly.

Training of food handlers has been mandatory since 2005 and several thousands of food handlers have been trained to date. However, according to DM, the expected outcomes in food safety were not achieved because most of these food handlers worked under managers who did not have the necessary skills and knowledge to facilitate food safety related activities. DM has concluded that training programs in the past were focused on food handlers who often find it difficult to put to practice what they have learned in the training because of the lack of facilities or encouragement from the management. Appointing a PIC adds an onsite level of protection for day-to-day food safety. People who complete PIC training may also have the opportunity to obtain an internationally recognised qualification stating they have skills and knowledge to handle food safely.

DM has reported that their food inspection officers find it difficult to communicate with the food business when there is no designated person or point of contact and this often leads to confusion about the right thing to do when it comes to food safety. Unless there is a responsible person present in the facility, inspectors cannot provide recommended corrective actions for the violations found during the inspections.

When it comes to the trade sector, some of these food trading companies violate regulations while importing food into the country and most of these problems are detected at Dubai'ss ports. Such foods are either rejected at the ports or discarded and this causes huge economical loss to the trader and creates unnecessary work for all involved. Most of these problems can be prevented if a trader has a good understanding of the food standards and related requirements and correct it at the country of origin.

The PICs will play an important role in ensuring food safety in their business, but the work of the PIC will not be limited to that. Consumers can contact the PIC for any food related complaints. Being a well trained person, the PIC would be able to understand the consumer and should be capable of taking immediate corrective actions. In the end, it is all about protecting the health of consumers.


Back to the top



4) How many PICs does each organisation need and what are their training requirements?

Businesses need to appoint at least one PIC per premises.

The below chart will provide you information on the requirements based on business type.

*In the case of hotels and manufacturers that have more than one kitchen or production area, it is not necessary to have a PIC in each area unless the area is physically isolated from the other areas where the PIC is present. This rule applies to larger food establishments with multiple kitchens or production areas that handle high risk foods.


Back to the top



5) Who can be a PIC?

The PIC can be the owner of the business or a designated person, such as a shift leader, chef, kitchen manager or similar individual who is always present in the work site and has direct authority, control or supervision over employees who engage in the storage, preparation, display, or service of foods.


Back to the top



6) Are there any minimum qualifications to become a PIC?

No. There are no minimum qualifications to become a PIC. However, PICs should pass the certification relevant to their type of business.


Back to the top



7) Does the PIC have to be at the business all the time?

PIC requirements are listed in Table 1:
‘One per establishment’ – means that there should be at least one person in charge in each establishment. This requirement applies to low and medium risk businesses. In this case, the person in charge need not be present at all times, but it is strongly recommended that the person in charge is present during the busiest times of the day.

‘One per shift’ – means that there should be one PIC per shift per establishment. This requirement applies to high risk food businesses that require continuous monitoring.

‘One per shift present in the production area / kitchen’ – means that there should be at least one PIC per shift in all important production areas or kitchen. This rule applies to larger food establishments with multiple kitchens or production areas that handle high risk foods.

‘One per shift per kitchen ( depends on the size)’ – means that the establishment may need additional PICs depending on the size of the operation. It will be the discretion of the Food Inspection Officer to recommend the number of PICs required in the food business.

If the PIC is away (eg not on shift, on leave, sick), the business must still maintain food safety. The PIC can facilitate this by:
- sharing food safety knowledge with other staff
- training staff to take appropriate corrective actions when there is a problem
- developing work instructions that staff can follow to continue handling food safely.


Back to the top



8) When should the establishment appoint the PIC?

All food establishments should have a PIC by December 2011. There will be an implementation period that will begin in January 2011 and end in December 2011.


Back to the top


9) What if a PIC leaves?

Once the employment of a PIC is terminated, establishments shall have thirty (30) days to employ a new PIC certified in Food Safety. The proposed PIC should enrol for the training program within 15 days.


Back to the top



10) What if a PIC changes their details?

The business owner must notify the food inspection officer of any changes regarding their existing PIC’s contact details within seven days of becoming aware of the changes (eg phone number change, name change).


Back to the top



11) Is the PIC solely responsible for food safety in a food business?

No. Everyone who works in a food business has a responsibility to handle food safely.

Business owners/license holders:
- need to ensure that all facilities are provided to ensure an effective food safety system
- need to ensure their business complies with the Food Code and other food safety requirements
- need to appoint a PIC
- will continue to be liable, as at present, if a food safety breach does occur

Food handlers:
- must have the skills and knowledge relevant to their food duties to keep food safe (eg a chef will need greater food safety skills and knowledge than a waiter or kitchen hand)

Person in Charge:
- Owner himself / herself or a person nominated by the owner and works under the direction of the owner
- supervises food handling in the business to make sure it is being done safely
- needs to understand the overall food safety processes of the business as it applies to all staff


Back to the top



12) What is a PIC Certificate?

The PIC Food Safety certificate will be issued by an internationally recognised Awarding Body accredited by the Dubai Accreditation Department (see here for details of TSI's accreditation). Approved TSI certificates are shown below (click on the images for a larger view):

Highslide JS
Click the image to close

Click the image above to enlarge

Highslide JS
Click the image to close

Click the image above to enlarge

Highslide JS
Click the image to close

Click the image above to enlarge


A PIC certificate will state that the person it is issued to is qualified to be a PIC for a particular level.

The PIC certificate is valid for five years from the date of issue with a requirement for a refresher course before the end of three years.

It is a legal requirement that all businesses keep a copy of their PIC certificate on the premises and produce it for inspection on the request of food inspection officers.


Back to the top



13) What are the main roles of PIC?

The PIC is a person at supervisory level on duty during all operating hours, who is trained in the prevention of foodborne illness and injury. A PIC answers technical questions and provide coaching as needed for other employees to improve their performance at work.

The PIC has to perform the following duties; a PIC shall:


- Develop and implement policies and procedures to prevent foodborne illness;
- Ensure that all employees are fully trained before they start to work;
- Monitor employee activities to ensure compliance with food safety regulations; especially during receiving, preparation, display and storage of high risk foods;
- Follow-up food inspections conducted by the Food Control Department, take corrective and preventive actions when necessary;
- In-house self-inspections of daily operations are conducted on a periodic basis to ensure that food safety policies and procedures are followed.

Specific tasks:
- Monitor employee hygiene, especially proper hand washing;
- Exclusion of ill employees;
- Monitor cooking and proper cooling;
- Monitor cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils;
- Receiving food;
- Follow up food related complaints;
- Ensures that no unauthorised persons are allowed in the food preparation area/kitchen
- Ensures that those authorised to enter kitchen will comply with the rules

In a large establishment that has separate outlets or multiple departments, such as a hotel or a supermarket, there may be more than one PIC. The duties could change depending on the size and type of business.

In larger establishments that have a designated Hygiene Officer, Food Safety Manager or a Quality Assurance Manager, or a Department, the role of the PIC will be limited. It is strongly recommended that the QA Manager or the Food Safety Manager clearly identifies and documents the role of the PIC.


Back to the top



14) Where can the PIC get trained?

Training will only be recognised if it is delivered by a Trainer approved by the Food Control Department. Trainers approved to deliver the PIC training will provide certificates issued by Awarding Bodies Accredited by the Dubai Accreditation Centre.

Click here for a list of trainers approved by TSI-QS to deliver PIC training.


Back to the top



15) How is the training delivered and how long will it take?

Trainers shall provide the training through trainer-led lecture sessions.

For specific details related to each level of training click the relevant link below:

- Level 1 PIC
- Level 2 PIC
- Level 3 PIC


Back to the top



16) Will previous training be recognised?

A person with any of the following qualifications may apply for the Food Safety Certification Examination after attending a one day refresher training with emphasis on Dubai Municipality Regulations offered by approved trainers:
- Intermediate (Level 3) or Advanced (Level 4) award in food safety from a recognised Awarding Body.
- Advanced training in implementation of food safety management systems that are approved by the Department. Note: Menu-Safe Management training is equivalent to PIC training. Click here for details.

A person who fails in the certification examination has to attend the whole course before sitting for the next examination.


Back to the top



17) How is PIC training different to general food safety skills and knowledge training?

The PIC training is referred to as ‘accredited’ training as it is provided by internationally Recognised Awarding Body accredited by the Dubai Accreditation Department (see here for details of TSI's accreditation).

PIC training is an additional requirement for a person who works in the managerial or supervisory position. PIC training will focus on helping the PIC to carry out internal inspections of their premises and to take appropriate corrective actions. The training will enable managers to identify practices that could lead to problems and thus it is a preventive tool.

It is a mandatory requirement for all food handlers to have general food handling skills and knowledge appropriate to their role in the business. This is specified in the Food Code and this will continue to be requirement for all food handlers.


Back to the top



18) How should the business choose a trainer?

Step 1: Know your Training Requirements:
- Decide what level of training you want the trainer to provide. This could be Level 1, 2 or 3 training based on the type of your business. Click here for a guide on how to choose which level you need.

- Decide the language you want the training to be. It is important to choose the language that you are most comfortable with.

- Contact the Food Control Department if you wish to get more information.

Step 2: Contact and Select the Trainer:
- Contact and talk to the trainer you wish to choose and preferably meet the trainer in person. Click here for a list of trainers approved by TSI-QS to deliver PIC training.

- Ensure that the trainer is fluent in the language you wish the training to be in.

- Contact their previous clients to know whether the trainer had done a good job in the past.


Back to the top