Food safety programs – independent
Class 1 food businesses must have a food safety program. This is usually a tailored, independent food safety program that considers the food handling activities at the premises.
Class 1 food premises must keep a copy of their food safety program on-site at the business premises.
If a food business uses an independent food safety program, the proprietor can choose to have audits conducted by any auditor approved by the department or – if the local council offers audit services – by a council auditor.
Food safety program templates
The Food Act 1984 allows food safety program templates to be registered by the department for different types of class 1 premises.
Class 1 facilities would be able to complete a template document rather than arrange for a program to be written specifically for their food handling activities. It would also simplify the compliance checking process.
Because this is a new initiative, no such templates have yet been developed or registered with the department. Detailed work is required to ensure that any template that is developed is suitable to address the risks associated with the vulnerable people who are supplied food by the facility.
Further information will be provided when any templates are registered. This will build on the current practice where some premises have a food safety program adapted from a registered template that is used in their sector.
To find out if your organisation has a registered food safety program template, contact your local environmental health officer.
Declared quality assurance codes
In the future, some businesses may choose to develop a nonstandard food safety program under a declared quality assurance (QA) system or code, so the program can be incorporated into the larger whole-of-business system.
The Food Act allows the department to formally declare QA systems or codes under which a tailored food safety program for a premises can be developed. A QA system or code will have to be sufficient to ensure that any programs developed under it adequately assess all food safety risks.
It will take time for QA systems to be assessed and declared, if satisfactory. Information about any relevant QA systems or codes will be made available after the systems are declared under the Act.
QA systems tend to include requirements about training.
To avoid duplication of training requirements, a food premises will not need to have a food safety supervisor if it has a food safety program prepared under a declared QA system, and if the program includes competency-based or accredited staff training.
Further information about these changes will be provided when templates are registered or QA systems are declared in the future.