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guide to food safety training and handling in malaysia

9 FAQs On Food Handling Training In Malaysia

The Food Hygiene Regulations 2009 by the Ministry of Health forbids food businesses in Malaysia from operating until all food handlers receive food handler training.

It can be frustrating for new F&B owners, but necessary when the frequency of food poisoning incidents in Malaysia has more than doubled between 2021 and 2024 from 18.4 incidents for every 100,000 people to 51 incidents for every 100,000.

food poisoning death in malaysia to show importance of food safety and handling training
And that’s just the recorded incidents!

As food business operators are a significant portion of MISHU’s client base, we naturally also offer this service through our training partner Mister Azlan Saw.

azlan saw mishu trainer for food safety handling in malaysia

Azlan spent over ten years managing F&B franchise outlets before becoming a certified food handler trainer in Malaysia, and is well-versed in food handling requirements as defined by Ministry of Health guidelines.

We asked him for his thoughts on the nine most frequently asked questions on food handler training, and here are his answers.

Let’s begin.

1. What is a food handling course?

A food handling course or ‘Kursus Latihan Pengendali Makanan’ teaches food handlers  legally obligated practices on food preparation, including:

  • Cleaning and sanitising
  • Personal hygiene
  • Storing, preparing, and cooking different types of foods 
  • Accommodating food allergies and intolerances 
  • Preventing food poisoning, and
  • Pest control

Just to name a few!

As mentioned, it’s a mandatory part of operating a food business alongside receiving a medical examination and anti-typhoid vaccination. 

2. How long is a food handling course certification valid for?

As of writing this (June 2024), the certification is valid for life, so food handlers only need to attend training once!

However, it previously had to be renewed every two years, so there’s always a chance that the Ministry of Health will revise its policies depending on circumstances.

3. How long does a food handling course last?

Ministry of Health guidelines require all food handler courses to last a minimum of three hours.

However, depending on the topics covered and number of attendees, it could take significantly longer, so businesses should be prepared to allocate a full working day.  

3. Who needs to attend a food handling course?

The Food Hygiene Regulations defines ‘food handler’ as any person who:

  1. is directly involved in the preparation of food;
  2. comes into contact with food or food contact surfaces; and
  3. handles packaged or unpackaged food, or appliances, in any food premises

In practice, this usually means staff members from the following businesses:

  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Coffee shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Hotels
  • F&B manufacturers
  • Kindergartens
  • School canteens
  • Hospital kitchens
  • Food trucks, and
  • Food stalls in markets and bazaars

Basically, if part of someone’s job involves touching food or utensils used to prepare food, they need to attend a food handling course. 

5. What are the topics covered in a food handling course?

The topics covered for the course are

  1. Introduction
  2. Food Hygiene
  3. Food Safety
  4. The critical factors of food poisoning

6. How much does a food handling course cost?

Food handler course fees are regulated by the Ministry of Health and set at RM50 per attendee regardless of physical or online delivery.

7. Can a food handling course be delivered online?

Yes, but the Ministry of Health has set the maximum number of participants at 20 for online and 30 for physical classes to ensure the course is effective. 

There is no maximum limit for how many participants can attend physical food handler training, making it a better choice for businesses that need to train large numbers of staff at once. 

8. What’s the penalty for lacking food handling certification?

The owner of the food business is liable to:

  • a fine of up to RM10,000
  • up to two years imprisonment
  • both! 

Also, if your premises don’t meet MOH guidelines, officials can order you to shut down your restaurant – and they absolutely will, here are a few cases from 2024:

Also, there will be a big fat notice on the front telling people why.

notice of closure by ministry of health for unhygenic restaurant
Good luck recovering from this.

Just go for the training already!

9. How soon do attendees receive their certificates?

The certificates are usually issued seven working days after payment has been fully made.

Thanks, Cikgu Azlan!

Let MISHU help with your food handler training

MISHU’s trainers and coaches are here to equip operators in Malaysia with essential food safety and handling practices to succeeed, regardless of industry or business size.

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