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Skills and knowledge for food handlers

It's important your food handlers and their supervisors have the skills and knowledge to handle food properly so that it's safe to eat.

What are the requirements?

Under Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, you must make sure the people who handle food, and their supervisors, have the skills and knowledge to keep food safe and suitable to eat.

From December 2023 additional requirements may apply to businesses that handle potentially hazardous food - see our information on Standard 3.2.2A Food Safety Management Tools.

    What training is needed?

    Formal training in specific courses is not generally needed. But some states or territories have compulsory training requirements e.g. for a food safety supervisor (check with your local council) and you should check if Standard 3.2.2A applies.

    Some training options include:

    • in-house training by experienced staff
    • online training courses (e.g. 'I'm Alert' and 'DoFoodSafely' are both free courses)
    • having operating rules that set out staff tasks and responsibilities
    • employing staff with formal industry-based training
    • written material, videos, animations, interactive training
    • training in languages other than English.

    Reduce your risk

    Discuss food safety and hygiene with your team, including who is responsible for which tasks and how they manage things to keep food safe.

    • Provide clear instructions and operating procedures.
    • Remind your team about food safety often and provide refresher training to keep them up to date.
    • Keep records of who has received what training and when.
    • If you have new staff or new practices (e.g. new recipe or equipment), make sure everyone involved knows what to do and how to do it.

    What if I'm a charity or community group?

    Charities and community groups selling only low-risk foods (e.g. canned drinks, packaged lollies) or food that is cooked on site and eaten straightaway (e.g. a sausage sizzle) at a fundraising event are generally exempt from the skills and knowledge requirement. Regardless of this, all food handlers still need to meet health, hygiene and other food safety standards requirements, and food served to customers must be safe and suitable to eat.

    Event organisers should check with the local council for specific requirements, and consider whether:

    • all food handlers know that food is expected to be handled safely
    • food handlers understand their health and hygiene responsibilities
    • there is someone in the organisation who is responsible for ensuring food handlers handle food safely
    • the equipment food handlers need to keep food safe is available, e.g. hand washing facilities and serving utensils.

    More information

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    Page last updated 6 December 2023