Food Handler Course Curriculum: What Does It Cover?

Discover a comprehensive course curriculum covering essential food safety practices.
Food handlers with ipad and laptop in restaurant
February 22, 2024

The importance of Food Handler training cannot be overstated, especially when you consider that millions of food poisoning cases are reported each year in Australia.

Food Handlers are on the frontline in the battle against food-borne illnesses and their understanding and application of food safety practices are crucial in ensuring the well-being of consumers. This is where professional training comes in.

The Australian Institute of Food Safety (AIFS) offers a comprehensive Food Handler course curriculum designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to uphold food safety standards and advance their careers within the food sector. 

In this blog, we will explore key elements of the course in more detail so that you know what to expect when enrolling with AIFS. Before that, let’s start by discussing the overall importance of Food Handler training in the context of the Australian food industry.

Understanding the Importance of Food Handler Training

Each year, Australia is impacted by more than 4 million cases of food poisoning, around 31,000 of which are severe enough to warrant hospitalisation. A handful of extreme cases will result in death, further highlighting the critical importance of safe food handling practices.

Food Handlers must understand the common causes of food-borne illnesses and the actions required to mitigate them. To help ensure adequate food safety standards are implemented throughout Australia, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) mandates training for anyone involved in food handling, preparation or service.

As well as ensuring consumer safety and compliance with FSANZ regulations, Food Handler training can aid career progression, acting as a foundation for Food Safety Supervisor certification, which requires further training.

Sector-Specific Food Handler Courses

AIFS offers sector-specific Food Handler courses for Hospitality, Health & Community and Food Processing. Each course covers the relevant unit of competency, providing you with the precise knowledge and expertise required for the industry in which you work:

  • Hospitality: SITXFSA005 - Use hygienic practices for food safety
  • Health & Community: HLTFSE001 - Follow basic food safety practices
  • Food Processing: FBPFSY1002 - Follow work procedures to maintain food safety


The Food Handler course for Hospitality includes 13 interactive lessons:

Lesson 1 - Food Safety Laws & Responsibilities

Lesson 2 - Food Contamination & High-Risk Groups

Lesson 3 - Biological Contamination

Lesson 4 - Other Types of Contamination

Lesson 5 - Food Allergies

Lesson 6 - Cleaning & Sanitising

Lesson 7 - Hand Washing

Lesson 8 - Personal Hygiene & Workplace Behaviour

Lesson 9 - Illness & Onsite Injuries

Lesson 10 - Time & Temperature Control

Lesson 11 - Working with Food Safely

Lesson 12 - Serving Food Safety

Lesson 13 - Food Safety Programs & Reporting Responsibilities

Health & Community

The Food Handler course for Health & Community includes 17 interactive lessons:

Lesson 1 - Food Safety Laws & Responsibilities

Lesson 2 - Food Contamination & High-Risk Groups

Lesson 3 - Biological Contamination

Lesson 4 - Other Types of Contamination

Lesson 5 - Food Allergies

Lesson 6 - Cleaning & Sanitising

Lesson 7 - Maintaining Food Premises

Lesson 8 - Hand Washing

Lesson 9 - Personal Hygiene & Workplace Behaviour

Lesson 10 - Illness & Onsite Injuries

Lesson 11 - Time & Temperature Control

Lesson 12 - Receiving & Storing Food

Lesson 13 - Working with Food Safely

Lesson 14 - Serving Food Safely

Lesson 15 - Food Safety Programs

Lesson 16 - Identifying Food Safety Hazards

Lesson 17 - Controlling & Reporting on Food Safety Hazards

Food Processing

The Food Handler course for Health & Community includes 13 interactive lessons:

Lesson 1 - Food Contamination & High-Risk Groups

Lesson 2 - Types of Contamination

Lesson 3 - Allergen Management

Lesson 4 - Cleaning & Sanitising

Lesson 5 - Maintaining Food Premises

Lesson 6 - Hand Washing

Lesson 7 - Personal Hygiene & Workplace Behaviour

Lesson 8 - Illness & Onsite Injuries

Lesson 9 - Receiving & Storing Food

Lesson 10 - Working with Food Safely

Lesson 11 - Food Safety Programs

Lesson 12 - Identifying Food Safety Hazards

Lesson 13 - Controlling & Reporting on Food Safety Hazards

Key Topics

Whichever sector-specific Food Handler course you select, you will be provided with access to a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip you with a robust understanding of food safety so that you can carry out food handling activities safely and responsibly. 

These are some key topics covered by the Food Handler training program across Hospitality, Health & Community and Food Processing.

Food Safety Laws & Responsibilities

Introduction to food safety laws and what they mean for you and your workplace, focusing on the three levels of food safety legislation:

  1. National
  2. State
  3. Local

Food Contamination

Overview of the three types of food contamination that can make food unsafe and cause a food-borne illness (biological, chemical and physical).

Food Allergies & Allergen Management

Guidance for preventing, identifying and dealing with allergic reactions in your food establishment.

Hand Washing

Demonstration of how effective hand washing can prevent food-borne illnesses caused by cross-contamination and the spread of harmful pathogens.

Personal Hygiene & Workplace Behaviour

Practical measures for ensuring that your body, anything from your body or anything you are wearing don’t contaminate food or food contact surfaces.

Cleaning & Sanitising

Guide to ensuring that food storage areas, equipment and preparation surfaces are effectively maintained, cleaned and sanitised on a regular basis.

Receiving & Storing Food

Information about receiving and storing food safely so that pests and pathogens are not introduced into the workplace.

Time & Temperature Control

Summary of which foods require time and temperature control, the temperature zones, time control (e.g. the 2 hour / 4 hour rule) and how to use and maintain thermometers.

Working with Food Safely

Guide to safely freezing, defrosting, preparing, cooking, cooling and reheating food.

Serving Food Safely

Guidelines for serving and displaying hot and cold food safely.

Identifying Food Safety Hazards

Summary of what needs to be done to identify potential hazards (biological, chemical or physical) that could occur across all areas of your food operation.

Food Safety Programs

Demonstration of how robust Food Safety Programs, such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), are crucial for identifying and mitigating potential food safety hazards before they cause harm to the public.

Illness & Onsite Injuries

Guidance for dealing with workplace illnesses and injuries, including reporting procedures.

Assessment Activities

To make sure you made the most of the interactive lessons, the Food Handler course features assessment activities, including quizzes, a case study and an Observer Report.

Lesson Quizzes

There is a multiple-choice quiz after completing each lesson. This type of assessment ensures you have a solid understanding of each topic and makes it easy to track your progress throughout the course.

Case Study

Once all the lessons have been completed, there is a short case study to take part in. The case study involves reading a scenario and answering a series of multiple-choice questions based on the information provided.

Observer Report

The AIFS Food Handler course also includes an Observer Report activity as part of the assessment process to ensure compliance with Australian food safety regulations. The Observer Report is designed to assess your practical skills, such as hand washing. This section of the course is required in order for you to demonstrate that you can perform such tasks correctly.

To make this exercise as straightforward as possible, AIFS allows you to perform tasks under the supervision of a designated co-worker or supervisor. This individual is nominated during the registration process and will receive an email giving them the option to print the form or submit it online.

Industry Compliance

AIFS is a Register Training Organisation (RTO) with government approval to deliver Food Handler training in every state and territory throughout Australia. After completing the AIFS Food Handler course, you will be awarded a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment outlining the units of competency achieved.

Fast and Efficient Certification

Every aspect of the AIFS Food Handler course is designed to be as efficient as possible so that you can quickly fulfil your food safety training obligations.

Enrolment is open to anyone and can be completed online in just a few minutes. Once enrolled, you receive immediate online access to the course, allowing you to begin learning immediately or at a time and place that suits you. 

The course typically takes 3-4 hours to complete, making same-day certification possible. However, you are given up to 12 months to finish your training so that you can allocate time among your work schedule.

Become a Certified Food Handler

As you have seen, AIFS provides a comprehensive Food Handler course that enables you to obtain a certification that meets the requirements of food safety legislation and is recognised all over Australia. After completing your Food Handler training with AIFS, you will be able to identify potential food safety hazards, understand how they arise and take appropriate steps to prevent them.

Register today or contact us for help choosing the right course for you.