Serving the vulnerable people within the aged care industry with nutritious, healthy and safe food is a must, not only to satisfy their needs but also to promote their health and well-being.
This is where food safety programs come in. According to the Australian Standard, food businesses that process food for service to vulnerable persons must implement a documented and audited food safety program. In this blog, we’ll dig deeper into what these programs are, why they’re essential, and how they can help ensure the safety and health of your elderly clients.
What are Food Safety Programs?
Simply put, a food safety program is a documented system outlining the measures a food business takes to ensure food safety. It includes details on the processes, procedures, and policies that the business follows when preparing, cooking, storing and serving food. A food safety program is tailored to the specific business and is developed based on the type of food served, the customers served, and the regulatory requirements.
Why are they essential for food businesses serving vulnerable persons?
Food safety programs are essential, particularly for food businesses serving vulnerable persons like the elderly, because they help prevent the risk of food borne illnesses. Vulnerable persons in aged care are susceptible to food borne illnesses, which can be life-threatening. Additionally, in the event of an outbreak, vulnerable persons are more likely to become severely ill, which could lead to hospitalisation or even death.
Some of the processes that a food safety program covers include identifying potential hazards in food preparation, implementing controls to remove or reduce these hazards, developing a cleaning and sanitation process, and employee training. With these measures, food businesses can assure the quality and safety of food served to these vulnerable individuals under their care.
What are some of the requirements of a food safety program?
First and foremost, the program must indicate who is responsible for food safety management within the business. It should also include documented procedures to ensure that the food served meets the highest safety and quality standards. This includes food handling procedures, employee hygiene, cleaning and sanitation procedures, and pest control.
A food safety program also requires regular monitoring, verification, and corrective action when necessary. This involves consistent testing, documentation, and review of the safety practices to ensure they are effective continually.
What are the benefits of implementing a food safety program?
Implementing a food safety program has many benefits. First, it ensures the safety and health of vulnerable persons, like the elderly, who are more susceptible to food borne illnesses. Second, it helps promote customer safety and satisfaction as customers will feel secure about eating at the aged care facility. Additionally, it improves the reputation of the aged care business by demonstrating a commitment to food safety and quality.
Another advantage of implementing a food safety program is that it can lead to cost savings. By reducing the risk of food borne illnesses and preventing food wastage, food businesses can save on expenses associated with legal claims, recalls, or asset damage.
A food safety program is a vital component of any aged care business that prepares and serves food to the elderly. By outlining the procedures that ensure the safety and quality of the food provided, aged care facilities can protect their vulnerable customers’ health and well-being.
By monitoring, verifying, and taking corrective actions, aged care businesses can continue to assure the safety and quality of food served while also benefiting from cost savings and customer satisfaction.
With the implementation of a food safety program, your aged care facility can guarantee that their elderly customers will receive nutritious and healthy food they need and deserve.
Book yourself, or your team in today for Health & Community Services Food Safety Training.