Skills and knowledge for food handlers

Food businesses have a legal responsibility to make sure food handlers have food safety skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene line with the work they do.

Additionally under Standard 3.2.2A, businesses who handle unpackaged potentially hazardous foods, and sell or serve them as ready to eat food must:

  • appoint a Food Safety Supervisor
  • make sure all other food handlers have completed a food safety training course or can show their skills and knowledge in:

This may include restaurants and takeaways, caterers, food vans, child care centres, deli’s who slice meats and serve salads, and service stations selling pies and hot dogs.

The proprietor of a business has the responsibility to check staff have adequate food safety and hygiene skills and knowledge. Maintaining staff training records is a useful tool to keep track of this requirement.

Food business owners and managers must also have knowledge of food safety risks and controls and must know and make sure their business complies with all relevant Standards in the Food Standards Code.


  • Skills – the ability to perform their tasks.
  • Knowledge – an understanding of the issues and risks associated with their tasks.
  • Food safety – what staff need to do to keep food safe.
  • Food hygiene – actions staff need to take to prevent contaminating food they are handling.

How can I train my staff?

Food safety supervisors need to complete certification in specific competencies through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

All food handlers who handle high risk foods must complete a food safety training course in, or show they understand, safe handling of food, food contamination, cleaning and sanitising equipment, and personal hygiene. The free, online DoFoodSafely training program is an example of a food safety training course and is available in multiple languages.

All other food handlers must have food safety skills and knowledge in line with the work that they do.

Food safety training can also be gained from:

  • formal training courses from RTOs
  • informal training courses from regulators (i.e. local council) or qualified consultants
  • in-house training sessions
  • on-the-job training from more experienced food handlers
  • providing SOPs for staff to follow
  • providing links to online information
  • providing visual materials (e.g. posters, fact sheets).

Further information

Further food safety information can be found via:

For further information on food handlers skills and knowledge, see FSANZ’s Skills and knowledge for food handlers webpage, contact your local council’s Environmental Health department or contact the Food Safety and Regulation Branch of SA Health.