5 Reasons Why ALL Food Handlers Must Be Trained In Food Safety

Anyone who works with food must be trained in food safety. Not only is this a legal requirement, it's essential to protect both your customers and the business.
July 29, 2017

At the Australian Institute of Food Safety, we often come across businesses who arrange training for one or two Food Safety Supervisors, but don’t arrange food safety training for the rest of the team.

Not only is this breaking the law, it also puts the customers and the business at risk. In this blog we look at 5 reasons why you should be arranging Food Handler training for ALL employees.

1. Food safety training is mandatory

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for regulating the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, the over-arching standard for food safety in Australia.

Training is covered in Food Safety Practices and General Requirements Standard 3.2.2 which states that:

‘A food business must ensure that all persons undertaking or supervising food handling operations have the necessary skills in food safety and food hygiene matters.’

This means that anyone who handles or prepares food, serves food, transports food or cleans food equipment and utensils must undergo food safety training if they don't already have the required skills. Not providing Food Handler training for employees is breaking the law.

2. You can get fined (and/or named and shamed)

Environmental Health Officers closely monitor food businesses to ensure that they’re sticking to both federal and state legislation.

This means checking that training requirements have been adhered to, as well as that Food Handlers are demonstrating the required level of personal hygiene.

Not meeting these requirements can result in fines and/or being added to a Name & Shame Register. In a recent report about the NSW Name and Shame Register, over 13% of businesses ‘shamed’ on the register had issues related to the training and hygiene of Food Handlers.

Ensuring that all Food Handlers are trained in food safety helps to protect your business from such consequences.

3. Food safety training protects your customers

This one is perhaps the most important item on the list - ensuring Food Handlers are trained in food safety means that customers are less at risk of food-borne illness.

Food poisoning is a serious issue that can cause serious illness or even death. Some of the worst outbreaks in recent years have been due to poorly trained Food Handlers not following the correct procedures.

In fact, the restaurant nominated ‘best in the world’ just a few years ago caused 63 diners to fall ill from Norovirus due to one of their Food Handlers not following the correct procedures for handwashing.

The best way to protect your customers is to ensure that all staff are properly trained and know how to handle and work with food safely.

4. Food safety training protects your reputation

Being responsible for a food-borne illness outbreak can have serious consequences for a food business, especially when media start publishing reports about the story. Many businesses have been unable to recover from such incidents and have had to close down as a result.

But it doesn’t take a serious incident for a food business’ reputation to be damaged. Seeing a Food Handler scratch their nose or wipe their hands on their apron can easily influence a customer’s perception of the business. This can lead to bad reviews on social media and other forums which can have a lasting and damaging effect on the reputation of a business.

5. Your business will have more engaged and motivated employees

Research shows that 40% of poorly trained employees leave their position within the first year. With recruitment and onboarding costs being so high, that’s an expense that most businesses would like to avoid.

Training and development opportunities are increasingly important for employees. 76% of employees would like opportunities for career growth, and up to 87% of millennials say that professional development and career growth opportunities are very important.

What’s more, employees that feel that they know how to do all of the tasks associated with their roles, perform better and are more motivated in the workplace. This, in turn, leads to better customer service and a healthier business all-round.

Visit our Food Handler course page to learn more about this training and the benefits it brings to your business and employees.