Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A, ‘Food Safety Management Tools’, came into effect on 8 December 2022 and introduced new requirements for all food service, catering, and retail businesses that handle unpackaged, ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous foods.

Although the new standard doesn’t apply to the dairy processing sector, this article from SA Health provides insights to the dairy sector into the food safety measures being introduced in other areas of the food supply chain, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, takeaway, supermarkets and delis, hospitals, aged care and childcare.

Why was the Standard made?

In June 2018, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation found the highest proportion of foodborne illness outbreaks in Australia were from food service and retail businesses.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) developed and approved Standard 3.2.2A to make sure all food handlers have food safety skills and knowledge and skills to keep food handling safe.

What is different?

The new Standard introduces new requirements for food service, catering, and some retail businesses that handle unpackaged, ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous foods.

The new requirements may require businesses to implement three new tools, including food handler training, food safety supervisor and demonstrating food is safe, depending on the business category.

When do businesses need to implement the tools?

The new Standard became law on 8 December 2022 and has a 12-month transition period for businesses to comply. This means all affected businesses should implement the requirements before 8 December 2023.

Who does the Standard apply to?

The Standard applies to all food service, catering, and retail businesses that handle unpackaged, ready-to-eat, and potentially hazardous foods.

How will the new rules be monitored?

The new regulations will be monitored by councils’ Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) or Food Safety Auditors during routine food safety inspections or audits. Extra inspections or audits will not be required.

What are the food safety management tools?

The Standard means food businesses may need to implement some or all of three new tools, the tools are:

Food handler training

Food handlers must do a food safety training course in or show that they understand safe handling of food, food contamination, cleaning and sanitising equipment, and personal hygiene.

Food safety supervisor

The business must have a qualified food safety supervisor who can give advice to staff members who make food and is reasonably available when handling food.

Demonstrating food is safe

The business must show they are undertaking safe food handling practices by demonstrating or keeping a record of important food safety controls, activities, and processes.

Where can I access food safety training courses?

The free, online food safety training platform DoFoodSafely provides the required course content and is available in multiple languages. Once completed, food handlers will receive a certificate which they can show to business owners and authorised officers.

Food safety training courses can also be accessed through vocational training providers, internally developed training, or training from other food businesses where an employee worked previously.

How often is food safety training required?

There is no timeframe for training refreshers, but businesses need to ensure their food handlers have up to date food safety skills and knowledge. It is recommended that businesses schedule regular food safety training refreshers for their staff.

All food handlers must have completed a food safety training course or be able to demonstrate appropriate skills and knowledge before they undertake high risk food handling activities.

What certification does a food safety supervisor need?

To be eligible to be a food safety supervisor, food handlers must have completed at least one of the following skill sets within the last five years: ‘Food Safety Supervision Skill Set’, or ‘Handle food safely in a retail environment unit’.

Where can I access food safety supervisor courses?

A list of training providers is available on the NSW Food Authority website. A list of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that offer courses with the required units is also available on the website.

This article is courtesy of SA HealthFrequently asked questions – Food safety management tools (Standard 3.2.2A)