What’s a NSW Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) and why is the position important?
A food safety supervisor is someone who is a current FSS certificate holder and qualified to identify and prevent any risks that are linked to food handling in certain retail food businesses. They are also licensed to train and supervise other individuals in the business on the safe handling of food.
An FSS plays a crucial role in the prevention of foodborne illnesses among consumers due to improper preparation and handling of food items.
According to statistics, one-third of the food poisoning outbreaks in New South Wales are caused by incorrect practices of food handling in the business, which costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year in losses and healthcare.
And with that, a Food Safety Supervisor NSW is necessary because they provide businesses with onsite food safety protection and consumers some peace of mind when buying their food or dining out.
Which food businesses need FSS?
- Takeaway shops;
- Mobile caterers;
- Mobile food vendors or food trucks;
- Supermarket hot food sales; and
- Temporary food stalls
Essentially, all businesses that serve foods that need temperature control, ready-to-eat, and are not served or sold in the supplier’s original container, or packaging require a Food Safety Supervisor.
How many Food Safety Supervisors does a food business need?
The New South Wales Food Act of 2003 states that businesses in the retail food service and hospitality sectors in the southern Australian states need to employ no less than one FSS or Food Safety Supervisor per premises. They are encouraged to employ more than one supervisor at the same location should they wish to.
However, mobile caterers do not need to appoint an FSS for each location they go to. They simply have to have one for their catering business.
Businesses with more than one premises are not allowed to appoint the same supervisor for each one. The law obliges them to get one per premises.
Who are qualified for this position?
The owner of the business will be the one to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor. They may be the business manager, employee (such as a chef), owner, or an external contractor.
For small businesses, it is best for the owner to be the supervisor.
How to become a FSS?
For anyone to be a FSS, one must complete their training in units of competency within the VET (Vocational Education and Training) system and be a current holder of a Food Safety Supervisor certificate. The law likewise requires the holder to undergo refresher training every five years.
The FSS should also complete the minimum one retail unit or two hospitality units: SIRRFSA001 Handle Food Safety in a Retail Environment or SITXFSA001 Use Hygiene Practices for Food Safety and SITXFSA002 Participate in Safe Food Handling Practices. There isn’t any requirement for the FSS to take on units beyond these mentioned competencies.
Where does one train to become a FSS?
An individual becomes an official Food Safety Supervisor if the training is carried out by an RTO or Registered Training Organisation that’s been approved by the Australian Food Authority.
The RTO will issue the NSW Food Authority green and white certificate, together with the Statement of Attainments, after the individual completes all the requirements of the training.
What happens after the employee gets the certificate?
The employee is now a certified Food Safety Supervisor. Their certificate will be valid for five years from the date it was issued.
The food business is required to obtain a copy of the certificate that’s kept on the premises and must be able to produce it when requested by a legal officer during an inspection. That’s why it’s encouraged to display the certificate.