Food safety programs are an important part of compliance for food businesses in New South Wales. The Food Standards Code legally requires these programs, enabled by the Food Act 2003, to be implemented in food businesses as part of daily operations. Food businesses are also required to have an appointed Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) among their staff to supervise and maintain these food safety programs, in partnership with the business owner or proprietor. FSSs are required to have Food Safety Supervisor NSW training from approved Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), with attendant certification.
With that in mind, what are the specific requirements regarding these programs? There are three categories to the provisions of food safety programs: the general requirements, the auditing requirements, and the program content requirements.
Let’s tackle these categories individually.
GENERAL FOOD SAFETY PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
A food business’ food safety program must adhere to the following:
- There must be a systematic examination of all food handling operations to identify the potential hazards that may reasonably be expected to occur.
- If the conducted systematic examination identifies one or more hazards, a food safety program intended to control the hazard or hazards must then be developed and implemented.
- A written document detailing the food safety program in its entirety (including step-by-step procedures, where necessary) must then be written, with copies of the document made easily or readily accessible within the food business premises.
- The food business and its staff must comply with the said food safety program.
- The food business and its staff must conduct a review of the food safety program at least once a year to ensure its adequacy.
A food business’ food safety program must comply with the following during an ongoing audit of their food safety program or programs:
- The food business must ensure that a food safety auditor audits the food safety program at the auditing frequency applicable to the food business.
- The food business must make the written document that sets out the food safety program, and the appropriate records (detailed below in program content requirements), available to any food safety auditor who has been requested to conduct an audit of the food safety program.
- The food business must keep copies of all resulting written audit reports on the food safety program, as conducted by a food safety auditor, within the last four years.
- The food business must make the above-mentioned documents available for inspection upon request by the food safety auditor presently auditing the food safety program or an authorised officer.
PROGRAM CONTENT REQUIREMENTS
The food business’ food safety program must meet the following:
- The food safety program must systematically identify potential hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur in all of the food handling operations of the food business.
- The program must identify where, in a food handling operation, each hazard identified during systematic examination can be controlled, as well as indicate the means of control.
- The program must provide for the systematic monitoring of those controls.
- The program must provide for appropriate corrective action when that hazard, or each of those hazards, is found not to be under control.
- The program must provide for the regular review of the program by the food business to ensure its adequacy.
- The program must allow for appropriate records to be created and managed to demonstrate the actions taken by the food business in relation to – or in compliance with – the food safety program.
If you wish to take a Food Safety Supervisor NSW course, click here.