Would you like that with a side of gastro FSANZ proposes new standards and practices
01 June 2022
01 June 2022
The recent Kinder chocolate salmonella recall left Easter shoppers frazzled due to fears of harming their loved ones. This is one of many recent instances that illustrates why FSANZ was asked to review the food safety risk management tools in the food service and retail sector as a part of a broader review of the Food Standards Code.
A biannual survey held by the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide (which you can access here - latest results from June 2020) showed that the top three food issues consumers identified were foodborne illnesses, imported food and pesticide use. The survey also indicated that only 10% of survey respondents had changed their behaviour due to a food safety issue, rating their confidence in Australia's food supply safety a 5.5 out of 7.
Even though these results show consumer confidence in Australia's food supply, increasing numbers of people are growing more careful about product recalls and sources of their produce. Growth of the world population and changing consumer habits, such as increased travel with the lowering of isolation rules, has raised the number of people buying food prepared in public spaces, making the risk of foodborne illness even greater.
In early 2022, FSANZ sought the public's opinion on the potential impact of more regulatory measures on businesses and any gaps between the current and proposed new practices. Submissions presented strong support for the changes. However there was an overall consensus that the skills and knowledge of food handlers are inadequate and lacking. As such, the submissions showed favour for mandatory, nationally recognised entry level food handler training for new food handlers before they commence employment.
New practices that FSANZ proposes to implement that were generally supported by respondents include:
FSANZ is also proposing a new standard in Part 3 of the Food Standards Code; Standard 3.2.2A – Food Safety Management Tools (see the draft proposal here). This would apply to businesses that fall under one of two categories that handle unpackaged and potentially hazardous food, including:
This proposed standard requires training to ensure that all food handlers have the appropriate knowledge for high-risk food safety including safe food handling, food contamination, proper cleaning and sanitising practices and personal hygiene.
It would also require the appointment of a certified food safety supervisor who has food safety skills and knowledge, is given management authority and is reasonably available to supervise food handlers while they are preparing food.
Some businesses would also need to maintain records of their food preparation as evidence of their food safety management tools in place when inspected or audited by authorised officers.
It is important to keep up to date with the latest product recalls on the FSANZ and ACCC websites and the latest updates in food regulation online and in the news.
The World Health Organisation's safe food manual, Five keys to safer food, also lays out some practical steps as to how to handle food safely, including:
You can access this resource at this link: Five keys to safer food manual (who.int).
As well as complying with FSANZ's current standards for labelling and food preparation, food businesses need to ensure that they are:
Authors: Kellech Smith, Partner and Leah Alysandratos, Paralegal.