How Long Does a Food Handling Certificate Last?

How Long Does a Food Handling Certificate Last?


Hospitality workers must have a comprehensive understanding of food safety for a range of reasons. Food safety is a public health issue; it is the first step in preventing foodborne illness. Beyond foodborne illness, hospitality establishments can face fines or legal repercussions for not complying with food safety legislation. The best solution is for hospitality business owners and employees who handle food or surfaces that come in contact with food to pursue food safety education. A comprehensive course on food handling is ideal. But how long does a food handling certificate last, and do you need to renew it? Let’s look at what local legislation recommends.

Why Refresh Your Memory?

While food safety begins with earning a food handling certificate, putting those lessons into practice is crucial. Adhering to all health and safety procedures are a continuous effort for the entire team, and food safety is no different. The trouble is that, as with anything, humans make mistakes, forget things, and pick up bad habits along the way. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to go for a refresher. This allows hospitality workers to correct any bad habits and refresh existing knowledge and practices.

Does a Food Handling Certificate Need to be Renewed?

A food handling course teaches participants about identifying and assessing food safety hazards, how to control risks, and how to monitor food safety. Currently, there is no legislation that requires food handlers to attend refresher courses; these certificates are valid indefinitely. However, the onus is on the business to ensure employees are well-informed about food safety and follow the necessary procedures.

Do Food Safety Supervisors Need to Renew Their Certificates?

By law, food safety supervisors must be reasonably present in category one and two food businesses during operation to ensure employees adhere to food safety standards. Category one businesses handle potentially hazardous, unpackaged, ready-to-eat food. Category two food businesses handle potentially hazardous food that is not prepared onsite.

Category 1 food businesses:

  • Restaurants, pubs, cafes.
  • Supermarkets with ready-to-eat food.
  • Catering services.
  • Takeaway outlets.
  • Medical and childcare facilities.

Category 2 food businesses:

  • Some service stations.
  • Delis.
  • Market stalls.

Because food safety supervisors have more responsibility than food handlers, the regulations regarding their roles are more stringent. From 2023, local governments began monitoring food safety standards more thoroughly. Among these safety standards is how long a food safety supervisor’s certificate lasts. While the laws in some states and territories used to vary, food safety supervisor certifications are now valid for five years throughout Australia.

When to Renew a Food Handling Certificate

Food handling certificates may not need to be refreshed by law, but for those who are a little rusty, brushing up on food safety knowledge and skills is always a good idea. As with a food safety supervisor qualification, it’s recommended that food handlers revisit their food safety knowledge every five years or sooner, if necessary, to refresh their knowledge.

Food handling certificates are about more than following the law. It’s about food safety and maintaining the reputation of a hospitality business. If you’re ready to enrol in a food handling course for the first time or a refresher, contact the hospitality training professionals today.

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