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Food Safety in Australia | Importance of Food Safety Courses

2 May 2024

Australia's commitment to food safety is reflected in rigorous food regulation and certification requirements, but food poisoning remains a concern. A 2022 study on The annual cost of foodborne illness in Australia by Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the Australian National University, estimated that foodborne illnesses cost Australia over $2 billion per year.

For food industry professionals and businesses, fostering a strong food safety culture is key to making sure the food they make or serve is safe for people to consume. Read on to find out more about food safety in Australia and the importance of obtaining food safety certification.

Key Takeaways

  • Australian law mandates food safety training for people handling food and requires at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor per establishment.
  • HACCP is a globally recognised food safety management system based on seven principles, and most Australian food businesses must have a Food Safety Program grounded in HACCP principles to meet legal standards.
  • Updated food safety standards introduced in December 2023 in Australia include mandatory food safety training for handlers of high-risk foods, reflecting the commitment to continuous improvement of food safety.

The Importance of Food Safety Certificates

Food safety programs and training in proper food safety practices not only ensures compliance with laws and regulations, but it also underscores the commitment of food businesses to uphold high standards of food safety.
From farm to fork, each stakeholder in the food chain has a role to play in safeguarding food safety. Whether it's about preventing foodborne diseases or ensuring access to safe food, food safety certificates are a testament to a business's dedication to protecting public health.

Legal requirements

In Australia, the Food Standards Code mandates that anyone who works with food must be trained in food safety. This means that food businesses need to ensure their Food Handlers are trained in food safety, covering anyone involved with food or food equipment.
Hospitality businesses are legally required to always have at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor on staff.

Updated Food Safety Standards in Australia

From December 2023, food service, caterer, and related retail businesses in Australia have had to comply with updated food safety standards. The nationwide changes are designed to strengthen food safety, with a particular focus on the roles of food handlers. As part of the changes, food handlers can now complete the 'Food Handler Basics' online course, encompassing the knowledge needs delineated in Standard 3.2.2A of the Food Standards Code.

While course completion is not mandatory, food handlers still need to demonstrate their understanding of safe food handling and food hygiene within their work environment. To ensure a smooth transition, food businesses have been given a 12-month period to conform to the new standards.

HACCP Food Safety and Food Safety Programs

HACCP, an acronym for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, is a food safety management system used to identify and manage risk. Developed by a group of researchers and suppliers to NASA in the 1960s, HACCP has become a cornerstone in the food industry worldwide, including Australia.

A HACCP Food Safety Program can safeguard a business from being the cause of a foodborne illness outbreak or causing severe allergic reactions from food allergens. The system is based on seven principles:

  1. Conducting a hazard analysis
  2. Identifying critical control points
  3. Establishing critical limits
  4. Monitoring critical control points
  5. Establishing corrective actions
  6. Establishing record keeping
  7. Establishing verification procedures.

In Australia, most food businesses are legally required to have a Food Safety Program that is based on the HACCP system or Standard 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code. This ensures that food safety standards are met and maintained consistently.

Who Needs a Food Handling Certificate?

In the hospitality industry, quite a few roles need a food safety certificate. Whether it's getting food ready, serving it up, or even just being around food, knowing how to keep it safe is key to stopping people from getting sick.

Training for a food handling certificate encompasses lessons on:

  • Safe food handling
  • Preventing food contamination
  • Maintaining cleanliness of premises and equipment
  • Personal hygiene.

It's not just for cooks and chefs; Australian food safety regulations also mean that anyone serving food needs to understand how to handle food safely to prevent contamination. This extends to a wide range of professionals in the food industry. For example, catering staff, especially those working at large events or handling high-risk foods, need food handling training to minimise food safety risks and meet the standards for safe food service.

Food Safety Courses with Access All Areas Training

Access All Areas Training provides three nationally accredited food safety training courses: Basic Food Safety, Food Safety Supervisor, and Food Safety Supervisor Skill Set. These training courses cover a wide spectrum of food safety aspects, ensuring that food handlers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle food safely.

Nationally, the standard validity period for Food Safety Supervisor Certificates is five years. This ensures that food safety supervisors are kept up to date with the current food safety practices and legislative requirements. At Access All Areas Training, NSW Food Safety Supervisor Re-certification is also available for those who have a recently expired, or soon to expire, Food Safety Supervisor Certificate from the NSW Food Authority.

The nationally accredited training programs offered by Access All Areas Training are designed to meet the needs of diverse roles within the food industry and are approved for all states and territories in Australia.


In conclusion, maintaining high food safety standards is a collective responsibility. From managers and food business operators to waitstaff and kitchen hands, everyone has a role to play in making sure that food safety practices are followed within their establishments. By obtaining food safety certifications and adhering to food safety programs, every step contributes to ensuring the safety of the food we consume in Australia.