Food service, caterer and related retail businesses in Australia need to meet new food handler training requirements from December 2023.
What are the requirements?
Standard 3.2.2A - 10 requires that each food handler who handles unpackaged, potentially hazardous food that is ready to eat, has, before engaging in that activity:
- completed a food safety training course; or
- adequate skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene to do that activity correctly and keep food safe.
The business must also have a certified food safety supervisor to supervise these food handlers (see our separate Food Safety Supervisor InfoBite).
These requirements are in place because unpackaged potentially hazardous foods are open to contamination by harmful microorganisms or other hazards immediately before the food is served and eaten, so need careful handling.
Who needs food handler training?
- Food handlers in both category one and category two businesses must meet these requirements. These categories are outlined in our Standard 3.2.2A - Overview InfoBite.
- These food businesses must ensure all food handlers have completed a food safety training course, or have appropriate skills and knowledge, before they start handling high-risk foods.
What should training include?
A 'food safety training course' means training in each of the following:
- safe handling of food; and
- food contamination; and
- cleaning and sanitising of food premises and equipment; and
- personal hygiene.
How often should training occur?
- No specific timeframe or refresher period has been set. However, businesses need to make sure their food handlers' skills and knowledge is adequate and up to date.
- It is best practice to schedule regular refresher training.
- For food safety supervisor training - see our Food safety supervisor InfoBite.
How is prior learning recognised?
- A business can recognise a food handler's prior learning - such as competency-based food safety training, in-house education, or a food safety induction course completed at another food business.
- A business may also be able to recognise a food handler's previous experience in the food industry, as long as it is relevant to the activities they do.
- Businesses may choose to keep a record of the training food handlers have completed. This will enable them to be sure everyone has completed the training they need, and show authorised officers they have met the requirements.