FAQ: Complying With Food Safety Programs

Food Safety SupervisorWhat happens after my food safety program is accredited?

Food Safety Supervisors with an accredited food safety program must comply with the program in carrying on the food business.

A copy of the accredited food safety program must be kept by employees of the food business at the food premises and be made available for inspection. The first compliance audit of the food safety program must be conducted within six months of accreditation, by an auditor approved under the Act.

Audits must then be undertaken, at the frequency specified by the local government that accredited the food safety program.

How do I prepare for an audit?

Before scheduling an audit, the food business licensee should ensure that they:

  • Understand the requirements of the legislation including the Food Safety Standards in chapter 3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
  • Have a food safety program that works and that staff are implementing it
  • Have all the documentation required and that staff must know how and where to access it

What happens after an audit?

Within 14 days after completing an audit, an auditor is required to provide a copy of the audit report to the food business and the local government that accredited the food safety program. The auditor will identify any non‐compliances (instances where the food business does not comply with the accredited food safety program or the food safety standards).

If non‐compliances are very serious and could result in unsafe food, the auditor must refer the issue to the local government that accredited the food safety program within 24 hours. The local government may then take further action.

Generally, the auditor will discuss areas requiring improvement. If there are no areas that require immediate follow‐up, the auditor may check minor improvements at the next scheduled audit. While an auditor may make suggestions as to improvements that can be made to an accredited food safety program, only a local government can give a food business on any direction about compliance with the Act.

Do I need to keep my records and audit reports?

All records need to be kept at least until the food safety program has been audited. Food Safety Standard 3.2.1 requires that – a food business retain copies of all written reports of all audits of the food safety program conducted by an auditor within the last four years. It is suggested that a food business also keep their records for four years to correlate with the audit reports. Records can be kept electronically, provided that they can be adequately accessed.

Food Safety Supervisors should review their accredited food safety program on a regular basis to ensure it is still appropriate for the food business. The person who undertakes the review should be someone familiar with the food safety program, the business’s operations, and have the authority to check records and act on the outcomes.